Dispatch Riders



WWI Dispatch Rider on Motor-Bike.


For my grandfather

My grandfather fought in Northern Italy.
An engineer, he went out at night behind enemy lines
and strung telephone wires across the road at head height.
His mission: to bring back enemy dispatches.

The wires, virtually invisible, would decapitate a rider
if he was travelling at forty miles an hour
slice him in half if he was travelling at sixty.

My grandfather’s only task: bring back those dispatches
unopened, undelivered, and unread.

Good luck walked beside my grand-father:
he didn’t have to bury the men he killed,
and he came home safe and lived to tell the tale.



The poem is one of those I rejected from my latest book. If you think it is salvageable and worth saving, please let me know. The photos are wonderful and I am so glad that they survived. I do not know who the riders are. My grandfather simply wrote ‘Dispatch Riders’ under the photos, in his beautiful copperplate handwriting. He was a genuine artist and a wonderful story teller.

That’s twice I have lost my post when I have tried to update it. If anyone can tell me what’s going wrong, I’ll be very pleased to hear.

2 thoughts on “Dispatch Riders

    • Thanks Ana. I put the first post up and then lost it when I revised it. DUH! That’s twice I’ve done that. So annoying. I have a wonderful set of WWI photos, and a couple of photos of my grandad, plus his ‘mentioned in dispatches’, signed by Winston Churchill. I have the Oak Leaves and his medals too. Plus, I have some wonderful memories and have written about him often. He was my mum’s dad.


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