The story behind this poem can be read in the book. Its literary merit might be dubious, but there are no doubts about its emotional power.

He stood, a dauntless figure
Prepared to meet his fate.
Upon his lips, a kindly smile
One arm around his mate.
His free hand held a picture
Of the one he loved most dear
And though his hand was trembling
It was not caused by fear.
No braver man e’er faced his death
Before a firing squad
Than stood that day upon the square
And placed his trust in God.

He drew himself up proudly
And faced the leering foe,
His rugged face grew stern, “I ask
One favour ere I go
Grant unto me this last request
That’s in your power to give.
For myself I ask no mercy
But let my comrade live”,
Then turning to the guardhouse
Where his sad faced Colonel stands
A witness to his pending fate
Brought here by Jap command.

He stiffens to attention
His hand swings up on high
To hat brim, in a swift salute,
“I’m ready now to die.”
They murdered him in hatred,
Prolonged his tortured end,
In spite of all his pleadings,
They turned and shot his friend,
They said it was an example
Of what they had in store
For others who attempt escape
Whilst Prisoners of War.

Example, yes, of how to die,
And how to meet one’s fate,
Example, true, of selfless love
A man has for his mate.
And when he reaches Heavens Gate
The Angels will be nigh
And welcome to their midst, a man
Who knew the way to die.
Whilst here below in letters gold
The scroll of fame e’er shall,
The story tell of how they died,
A Corporal and his Pal.

© by Anonymous