So strongly did he believe that he had an obligation to do his bit that his simple solution was to quit the mine job and signup anyway leaving my mother to do the best she could on the meagre army pay. Joining the army simultaneously gave the finger to his Afrikaans relatives since the majority of Afrikaners openly or secretly supported Germany. Manie, as he was known, spent three years in the Signal Corps seeing action first in Egypt and later in Italy. He returned home physically unscathed but like so many returning soldiers the scars were on his psyche.
The SoldierCome let me wash your face son We are going to meet your Dad He’s coming home from up North son And he’ll leave us no more, are you glad?
The troop train’s due in at eleven son Three years last week he’s been gone But today he’ll be at Park Station son And he’ll wonder at how big you’ve grown
Just look at the flags on the streets son We are flying the proud Union Jack Johannesburg is happy today son For at last her men have come back
Hold tight to my hand on the platform son Or you’ll surely get lost in this throng Hear Johannesburg lifting her voice son To welcome her men with a song
Don’t fret, I’m not really crying son For tears can mean both joy and pain And my heart’s bubbling over today son For your Dad will be with us again
Some day when you have grown up son You’ll know why I’m no longer afraid And why there are faces missing son And the terrible price that was paid
But for now be happy and smile son There’s nothing can mar our joy We’ll pick up the threads of our life son Your Dad your Mom and their boy
Look! There’s your Dad at a window son Now wave, wave with both hands There look, he’s seen us, he’s waving At last, back from far distant lands
There’s hugging and kissing and crying No more will Mother be sad For a man is back with his family Our Soldier, our Hero, my Dad