Skip to content

Thoughts from a soldier on Remembrance Day

A poem by Charles Worrall, a well-known Orillia veteran, who passed away last April at the age of 93
charlie worrall remem poem.jpg
Charles Worrall, a local veteran who died earlier this year, penned a poem about war that is fitting for Remembrance Day.

This is a poem by Charles Worrall, a well-known Orillian who was active in both the Orillia Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 34) and the local Army Navy Air Force (Unit 400).

Worrall, who passed away last April at the age of 93, was a prolific writer. Before you read his poem about Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, here’s what the obituary said of this local legend:

(Charles) emigrated to Canada in 1931, a boy in knickers. Raised in military fashion by his British Sergeant Major father Samuel. Lied about his age to sign up and went overseas from 1939 -1945 with the 4th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment R.C.A. One of the first to come home from his unit for his time served.

No one recognized the gangling boy that left six years ago, now to be a strapping 6’2” soldier. Home, he was soon accepted into the newly formed OPP and became one of the first motorcycle cops. You’ve heard the expression “Top Cop” well you know where it started as everyone knew Charlie the Cop.

At the official opening of Highway 401, the Queen attended and Charlie was appointed her motorcycle escort. He met and married the Angel of his dreams, Peggy, on his first placement in Port Stanley. He was also stationed in London, Woodstock and St. Thomas.

He loved the play of soccer, football, hockey and managed several semi pro teams, but his passion became the music of the Scottish Bands. He taught himself to play side drum and from there became base drummer in 3M's Pipe Band, London, St. Thomas Pipe Band, Ingersoll, Huntsville and Orillia and finally to become a world competition base drummer.

During the war he was part of the freeing of Arnhem, Holland and many years later took an entire band to put on a display to the likes you’ve never seen. Charlie was also a brilliant prose and story writer and often had his comments put to press.

Charlie marched to his own drum and never missed a beat. He was a life member of the Royal Canadian Legion and the A.N.A.F Unit 400.

--

The Thoughts of a Solider
By Charles Worrall

The 11th month, at 11 a.m. on the 11th day

The order (‘Cease firing!’) sounded clarion clear; Stand down, put your weapons away

The Victory call was flashed throughout the world, silence, no more cannons roar

Those who stepped from the trench and away from the stench, sighed, ‘The end of wars to end all wars’

‘Twas claimed as such by the orators, vociferously and with great delight

But really it was just a generation pause, more fittingly a respite

By ‘39 it came again, the horror of killing, kill or be killed

Another blood bath really for what purpose? That a mad man's whim could be fulfilled

Over five long years of slaughter, this must result in a permanent peace

But ‘twas not to be. Just another lull. Then Korea; lots more venom to be released

Since then it’s been a long uneasy truce, at least in our part of the globe

Elsewhere there are clashes and bloodletting, as man against man must probe

It’s now arrived that super powers control our very fate

Is it lust for power, insecurity or just man’s need to hate?

Think deeply today, as The Last Post sounds, honouring our glorious dead

Have they died in vain, to end all wars, or is the future best left unsaid?