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Cambridgeshire man pens moving poem for Remembrance Day

A Cambridgeshire man has written a moving poem for Remembrance Day.

Michael Gatward, who lives in Stapleford with his wife Susan, was inspired after visiting the Somme First World War sites earlier in the year.

He said he was "so moved by what those men endured" he wanted to write a poem that expressed his strong feelings.

This year, Remembrance Day celebrations are of an unrivalled scale as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

A number of parades, church services and wreath-laying events are scheduled in Cambridge, Ely and across Cambridgeshire's towns and villages.

At 11am on Sunday, November 11, a two-minute silence will be observed by people around the UK.

Michael, who runs a building business with his sons, said the first time he learned about the First World War was at 16 when he "hitched a ride to the youth club."

Michael told Cambridgeshire Live: "The man that gave me the lift fought on the Somme. He told me that he went over into no man's land three times and had reinforcements every time, altogether a total of 2000 men. Out of them, including him, 13 survived. That memory has alway stuck in my mind."

You can read Michael's poem, titled Remembrance Day below.

Remembrance Day by Michael Gatward

Today I walked amongst the brave,
That gave their lives for me to save.

I felt their presence all around,

As I wandered passed their head stones.

Engraved the unknown soldier,
Who rests here all alone.

It may have been a 100 years,
Since the battle of the Somme.
400000 men that died fighting in that war,

What was gained from their loss,
What was it really for?
Many lives were lost each day,

As they climbed above the trench,
In the name of freedom,

To liberate the French.

I could sense the fear and trepidation that was coursing through their head,

As they knew that when the whistle blew,

They would surely soon be dead.
When the guns fell silent,
The only thing theyd hear,
Was screams of pain and anguish,
Surrounding their ears.
A hell on earth no one should see,
Thank God they fought for you and me.

How could a man treat his brother
so terribly unkind,

Being so barbaric,

Whatever is in his mind?

The shells that rained above their heads,
Their dearest friends
lay about them dead.
Not many men would survive,
To have a family,
And watch them thrive.

A full list of Remembrance Sunday services in Cambridgeshire can be found by clicking here.

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