A garrison succumbs to a pen’s stroke,
leaving a walled city tasting defeat.
Duty’s thin red line has finally broke,
soldiers rooted in Roman times retreat.
The MoD is pulling out of York,
Top Brass cannot afford the Queen’s Shilling.
Now sly tycoons have champagne to uncork
as they gird their loins to make a killing.
Take down the colours and sound the Last Post,
pack away the regimental silver,
polish campaign medals and drink a toast:
“York’s units have been sold down the river.”
An army built on tradition and flags
yields to a barmy mob of hens and stags.
York has been a garrison town since Roman times but is likely to lose that status after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) decided to close Imphal Barracks, Fulford, and Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall. I wrote this sonnet after the MoD’s controversial announcement last November. Now, to mark World Poetry Day (21/03/2017), I have published it with a photo I took of a bugler while visiting the British Army in Gibraltar.