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The Arborfield Bride


By kind permission of the author, Trevor STUBBERFIELD (52A)



A/T “Remy” Bear


Ladies, can you remember when your husband looked like this?

Warm, cute and cuddly, someone to hug and kiss?

But this lad is from Arborfield, a soldier through and through;

He gave his life to the Army, but his heart he kept for you.


Three years he spent in that camp from hell

Suffering as only man can;

He entered those gates a bewildered young boy,

But passed out a skilled fighting man.


He wore the cap badge, head held high,

His heart could burst with pride,

But never as proud as the day you said

You’d be his Arborfield Bride.


He’d care for you, fight for you, even lay down his life for you;

Nothing would ever trouble him whilst you were by his side.

The one he loved and worshipped -

You, his Arborfield Bride.


Throughout those long separations,

Posted to God knows where,

When danger threatened his thoughts turned to home

Knowing you were safe back there.


Then children blessed the marriage;

To him, a God-sent joy,

A gift of love from his Arborfield Bride

To the ex-apprentice boy.


The children simply adored him,

This rough, tough Arborfield lad,

Known as a lean, mean fighting machine,

They knew him just as “our Dad”.


He gave them love and protection,

No one would do them harm.

Sometimes bad memories saddened his face

But all he showed them was his charm.


And now, as you glance across the room, he’s nodding in his chair;

Waist a little thicker, salt-and-pepper coloured hair.

Teeth in a glass beside him, set down on a tray;

Cane resting by the front door, he might venture out today.


He’ll totter down to the Legion,

A drink and a chat with a mate,

“I’ll only have half today Fred,

I mustn’t be home late.”


He’s sitting there, eyes closed tight, lips show a gentle grin;

Just a trace of dribble running down his chin.

But, come on ladies, let’s be fair, he’s still there by your side;

He’s dreaming of the day you said you’d be his Arborfield Bride.


And as you gaze upon him, this man you’ve known so long,

The man who stood beside you, upright, proud and strong,

Ask your maker “Why me, Lord?  Please tell me, why me?

Anything else I could understand, but what did I do wrong?”


Think back to the night when he proposed, there in that crowded bar.

Through the noise and singing his voice came to you from afar.

He’d plied you with gin and brandy, even a glass of port;

One cheek glued to the bar stool, you clung to the bar for support.


You heard his marriage proposal; you couldn’t wait to say “Yes”,

But that’s where it all went wrong, love, and it’s anybodies guess.

Things might have been much better if you’d dashed off outside;

Or even run to the ladies room, for in there you could hide.


Did you make the right decision, all those years ago?

Have you liked the life you chose? Only you will know.

But there’s no rhyme, nor sane reason that helped you to decide;

You must have been well pie-eyed to sign up as an Arborfield Bride.


Thoughts of Trevor 52A


First Published: 5th February 2003