Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tin soldiers never do anything

“My Tin soldiers never do anything”. Have you ever thought that? They just stand there. They never move. They NEVER EVER DO anything. Well Sir I think you should take a better look or listen just a little more closely. You are missing so much!

My collection is small compared to “That Guy” but The Soldiers, Sailors, Knights and Legionnaires on my shelves have told me many tales. They have walked “steadfast” beside me through many dangerous war zones some have even shared their most personal thoughts with me.

“How is that possible?” you ask. Turn on your computer’s browser pick up a soldier, look him in the eye and type the first thing that comes into your mind.

Just last week my British sailors in gaiters marched me off to the Battle of Denmark Strait it was the sixty-sixth anniversary of the battle I never saw. But my heart skipped a beat as HMS Hood split in two and sank into the ice cold waters leaving only three sailors a-float. Admiral Lancelot Holland stood with me and my tin soldiers as we watched his “Mighty Hood” go under. We heard the defiant salvo from a forward turret shot into the empty sky seconds before the Flagship of the British Navy was no more and the Admiral returned to his post on the bridge.

My Tin soldiers and my computer took me aboard HMS Ark Royal III and HMS Victorious two Aircraft carriers who would launch aircraft in search of and to attack the Bismarck. The first time in history that carrier based aircraft were used in battle.

My marching British sailors who “Never do anything” led me to a list of nearly one hundred ships that joined in the search and sinking of the Bismarck. each a story by itself

I huddled beside Captain Lindemann as he hid the world’s biggest Battleship in fog banks while deciding if he should head for the French coast or make a ten hour dash to Germany.

My tin soldiers and computer took me to the debris that floated over the last surface position of the Bismarck.

I stood with mouth agape as I saw film of British Sailor Warriors turning into search and rescue personnel and bringing one hundred and sixteen “Sailors” to safety. My tin soldiers beamed with pride as they showed me that once the battle was over a true warrior can forget all and become humane, doing what is right regardless of the uniform. I don’t think I could ever match that level of courage.

Admiral John Tovey showed this spirit when after the sinking of The Bismarck he said, “The Bismarck put up a most gallant fight against impossible odds, she went down with her colors flying.”

The next time you think your soldiers never do anything get one and head to the nearest computer search engine.

I would go with you but I’m off with a camel patrol in the Sudan.