When I was stationed in Crawley, that's down Sussex way,

Preparing armoured fighting vehicles, ready for the fray,

We had half the dual carriage-way, as our vehicle store.

Shermans, massive Churchill tanks and armoured cars galore.

I was in charge of "Allied Trades", a term that really meant,

 Tin bashers Smiths, and Welders, who repaired what broke or bent.

Things were really warming up, preparing for D Day,

Making sure all would be ready when our attack got under way.

A problem with an armoured car, a fluid leak soaked brakes.

Mitch Mitchell asked me to supply, the equipment that it takes,

To heat the oil soaked linings, so they could be reused.

Being booked up with urgent jobs, I regretfully refused.

The A.S.M. told him to try, another method he could use

So he got a bunch of cotton waste, to pack around the shoes.

Then he soaked the waste in petrol, then set it on fire,

But when burnt out, they weren't as dry as one might desire.

Mitch wasn't very happy, for he was being chased,

So he went back to the stores again, for a bigger lump of waste.

He then prepared to burn them off, in the same place as before.

Again he used some petrol. but this time even more.

He found a half an oil drum. and filled it to the brim.

As he walked toward the shoes, it splashed around the rim.

As he tipped it on the waste, a flash and then a roar.

He was literally a human torch, as around and around he tore.

We all kept yelling, "Mitch get down, lie down on the floor."

He obviously couldn't hear us, and ran on as before.

In vain he tried to wrap himself in the tarpaulin used as doors.

Then he dived through a barbed wire fence, landing on all fours.

We piled ourselves on top of him, soon the flames died down.

His hair was gone, his face and body, burnt to red and brown.

His skin had lifted with the heat, like new potato peel.

As we removed his smouldering clothes, more burns were revealed.

We put him in a waiting Jeep, the A.S.M. would drive.

He needed urgent treatment, for him to stay alive.

He drove Mitch to East Grinstead, for burns treatment now renowned.

No better place in all this world, for such injuries could be found.

After many months, and many moves, in a distant German town,

In a Red Shield canteen, I told this tale, to be greeted with a frown.

The listeners scarce believed me, and it made them doubt me more,

When I said, "Look there, that's Mitch, coming through the door ."

A friend said " Pull the other one, he's got no scars that I can see."

Mitch turned around and saw me, and came over with his tea

Asked to prove my story true, that he said he'd gladly to do.

Chest, arms, and legs, he let us see, the flesh looked like an ancient tree

Unmarked skin had been displaced from cheek to cheek to patch his face.

His face now smooth, he had no need to shave,

Such a cure for shaving, one Id never crave.

Too much attention, he would try to avoid,

But once in a while, he would get annoyed.

Hed wait for a time to let his anger pass,

Using humour in its place

Then he'd say with a roguish smile,


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