Video- ‘Here is Jack’

Video filmed and edited by Roger Kitchen for the exhibition Milton Keynes At War. I talk about my Grandad, Jack Kendall, and perform the song I wrote for him.

Here is Jack. Here is Jack.
They swapped his cornet for a rifle and pack
The guns are firing and there’s no turning back
And Jack is thinking this is not what he planned.
He joined the army just to play in the band-
So now this living nightmare he can’t understand.

He sees a well known face as the nurses arrive.
His sister Mary says, “Thank God , you’re alive!”
They hold each other as the men shuffle by.
It’s all too much for him, he just has to cry.
“Oh get me out of here Mary,  I don’t want to die.

And here am I, fortunate one
No way to understand the harm that was done
Never had to put on khaki, never made to fire a gun.
Fortunate one.

Here is Jack. Here is Jack.
It’s ten year later and he came through the lot.
A touch of gas on the lungs was all that he got.
He’s made a home now and he’s married his bride.
“How was it, Jacky?” “It was cushy” he lied.
He never talks about it, he keeps it locked up inside.

He plays his music at the palais de dance.
It gets him out of the house and he needs every chance.
But there are times when he can still hear them guns.
He’s back in Flanders facing up to the Huns-
It’s slowly dawning on him- it’s just them old drums.

My mother’s father who I barely knew.
Here is his cornet; campaign medals too.

And here am I, fortunate one.
No way to understand the harm that was done
Never had to put on khaki, never made to fire a gun.
Fortunate one.

Here is Jack. Here is Jack.

words and music: Kevin Adams