Tony McNally

Falklands War, Northern Ireland

and their effects on his life


Poetry, mainly about his 1982 Falklands War experiences, Northern Ireland and the trauma he suffered. Tony's introduction gives an insight into what he experienced and how it affected him.


A little about me  -  Tony McNally, Cloudpuncher

Tony McNally was born in Barrow-in-Furness, England, and has spent most of his life living on the fringe of the beautiful Lake District. As a young lad growing up he always dreamed of being a soldier, joining the army cadets as soon as he was old enough. This led on the joining the Royal Artillery at the age of 16, when the playing stopped and the real soldiering began. `Cloudpuncher` (an army nickname for Rapier missile operators) follows Tony through his training, his time in Germany and his growing up from a `spotty teenager to a young soldier and `man of the world`

In 1982, still only 19, he is sent of the war with `Maggie's Army` to the Falkland Islands to man the Rapier missile units defending the troops and the landings. After early initial success, and euphoria of shooting down two enemy aircraft, he was to witness the carnage of the destruction of the `Sir Galahad. `His Rapier missile unit 32 alpha on the hillside overlooking the sound, was useless disabled with a minor electrical fault he sat there `as though at the cinema` watching the tragedy unfold in front of him, helpless to do anything. This sight was to come back to haunt him again and again images of the dead and the badly burned bodies of the guardsmen lying around the shore and in the water.
After the eventual victory he was to witness the clearing up, the bodies, the desecration, the utter inhumanity of war.

He returned home to a hero's welcome, but he did not feel like a hero. After all the training and the action of war, the return to utter boredom of routine, drill, spit and polish, drove him to leave the army and go back to `civvy life.` home in Furness he could only find mundane employment in a factory and the boredom of `civvy life,` gradually turned his attention to the exciting prospect of becoming a mercenary. He applied for a job, advertising in `Soldier of fortune`, with a Vietnam veteran operating in Africa. After a short Mediterranean holiday he came back to find his face plastered all over the National newspapers branding him a `mercenary. `After less than three years he enlisted again and this time was sent to Northern Ireland. there he was to see another kind of horror and war the hatred of man for his fellow man. In the Falklands the Argentine enemy were like him soldiers doing a job for their country.

But in Northern Ireland, there were fellow British people trying to kill him! Every smile could hide a bomb. Even children were unwittingly involved in traps laid for unwary soldiers. If it wasn't bullets and bombs it was fridges and unmentionables dropped from the balconies of flats. The dehumanizing experiences there were to affect him deeply. After five years he left the army for good and returned home, again to a `dead - end` job as a security guard. But now the `traumas` , nightmares and hallucinations, started to seriously affect his life. His marriage was suffering and his wife feared actual harm. He sought help and was eventually diagnosed by a civilian doctor as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition the British army refused to accept existed.

`Cloudpuncher` follows Tony through his eventful at times shocking army career and then through the struggle to recover his `self` and rebuild his life and, ultimately, to find contentment and fulfilment.


How fortunate a man I am to smell

The newborn scent of my baby Annabelle

She gives me unconditional love

Her proof life must go on

Heaven bound white dove

I pray thanks dear Lord I survived my war

In 1982 some never reached the shore

She has stopped me from taking the easy way out

That sweet smell of innocence

There is no doubt

How fortunate a man I am to tell

This is my daughter, my Annabelle.

 Tony McNally


Angels Wings

Such a feeling of happiness I have never felt

Tears of pure joy so warm so loving

My Mother welcomes me, I can smell her scent

Rising up above the battlefield

My comrades smile

My enemies smile

Flying home on the wings of Angels.

© Tony McNally 


Cleanse me

Wash away my hatred and black pain

Cleanse my soul of this earthly madness

Creator if you have created why?

Some sort of sick joke?

Death Oh how a comfort it becomes

To love to hate to Kill

You have had your fill

I bow at the feet of What?

Its comical even though it hurts

When all sense and reason become nothing more than an electric spark

To ignite another bout of angst

Rain lash these eyes that have laughed at the unfortunate

Ridiculed the weak

Is this my punishment?

Cleanse me let me sleep.

© Tony McNally


Men Who Sit On Chairs

Men who sit on chairs send us to war

They tell us how to fight

They add up the score

Men who sit on chairs send us back home

Minus one or two or three or four or more

Men who sit on Chairs send letters to the bereaved

They tell of the heroism of what they have achieved

Men who sit on chairs sleep soundly in their beds

Unlike the men in psyche wards being force fed on their meds.

© Tony McNally



I'm happy and sad

Compassionate and bad

Cant sleep at night

Cant do anything right

I wanna be alone

But not on my own

I'm in love but I hate

I'm a burden on the state

I'm possessed by the war

I killed what for?

I see shrinks

I see docs

Remember my arctic socks

I'm disloyal cause I'm ill

Is it right to kill?

I can hide in a crowd

My face a grey shroud

I cry for no reason

My country shouts treason

All the pills and the booze

Make bad memories ooze

I was 19 in June

Under a bright crystal moon

I died that day

But I'm still here to say

For the brave and the free.

My award -  PTSD.

© Tony McNally


Why do they look at me that way?

Why do they look at me that way?

"Hes not all there", Ive heard them say

Leave me alone you faceless folk

To fight in war it aint no joke

Ive lost my wife my job my friends

Was it all worth it ,that all depends

I dont know why I feel this way

I took my oath I did obey

I killed because I was scared to die

By blowing those Sky hawks from the sky

Those retard bombs they drove us mad

They sent us on the Galahad

The screams of the dying, twisted metal shards

A floating burning hell of dead Welsh Guards

I did not cry for them that day

Why do they look at me that way?

My brain recorded events for me

I seem to torture myself with glee

In the capital Stanley we drank ourselves sober

The Sergeant Major said "The party is over."

They sent us back to our home shore

Amongst our families we were still fighting our own war

Its nearly twenty years since we won the day

Those painful memories just wont go away

I love my Country and my brothers in arms

On November the 11th Ill sing hymns and psalms

I will wear my medals with pride on that day

The only day of the year they don't look at me that way.

© Tony McNally


Human Waste

A murder of crows lands by the landfill site

I know the meaning of life

Smiling I feel slightly foolish

"What’s your problem?" I giggle to a crow

Energised beyond belief

Adrenaline surge

The 9mm Browning feels cold to touch

Staring at the hand I wonder if it knows how to use it

The knuckles are hairy

White mark totally gone from the wedding finger

I’m now in love with something beyond the boundaries of this world

Don’t fuck with the safety you idiot

Ha Ha Ha

Keep the weapon pointed down the range

Or inside your mouth

One of the crows looks my way

Can he see my gun?

Do crows ever commit suicide?

You're all collectively repulsive to me

I am part of the bacteria of human filth

But I’m happy truly happy for the first time in my life.

© Tony McNally



















© Tony McNally


A wee Dram

The young man listened in awe to the old soldier

Malt whiskey oiled the heroic deeds of the Grenadier

The same eyes that once looked for the enemy on a bloody battlefield

Now glinted from the log fires embers

Long still pauses

Deep breaths

Shaking hands

A drip of whiskey hits the carpet

Oh we were young

So very young

All dead

"Bugger Queen & Country son"

As the Grenadier smashed the whiskey glass into the flames.

© Tony McNally


The Carrion crow

The carrion crow is bursting

Thanks to the young men from Lancashire

Gangrenous innards adorning the French valley

Mrs Utterbridge at home in Blighty is hungry

But the carrion crow is sated

Her boy Alec 16 years old went to change the world

Beauty and innocence violently raped into the mud

By a German shell made in Berlin

The maker Mrs Shultz is hungry

Her boy Anton isn't

He isn't anything anymore

But the carrion crow is replete

Eating Alec's feet.

© Tony McNally


It's not about Oil?

Roll up boys and girls

Come take the Queens shilling

Iraq?s better than the dole

The scenery is thrilling

This is no Crusade

Has nothing to do with Bush

Move along, sit down

No need to crush

How old are you son?

17 good lad

You can?t vote for Blair

But your Parents will be glad

That you're in good hands

Your career we will further

But if you actually fire that rifle

We may charge you with murder.

© Tony McNally


My friend the dark

`My friend the dark?`

Misty droplets of rain settle on my face like a wet mask

Slightly to the side of the grave- like trench I lie

Waiting for her to come, my friend the dark

Concentrating on the misty ground my rifle moves slightly up and down

As my heartbeats slower my breath could compromise me?

I slowly move my toes inside my boots, fear not to make the leather creak

My guardian angel here now to watch over me

My friend the dark

When I was but an infant the dark made me scared

Now she is my ally in this game of death

I feel a twinge in my bladder but ignore it

To die with a full bladder would it matter?

I hear a metallic click please let it be my relief

Or could it be someone else

With his friend the dark?

© Tony McNally



Heart beating magazines full adrenaline rush almost ecstatic

Not alone my brothers here, no fear no fear

Silence attacks my ears

Nervous clicking of the safety catches

Glancing to my left Smith smiles nervously thumbs up

To my left Taffy spits and wipes his brow

I’m in good company , the company of men

My mates. my pisshead nut cases

Dance Of The Flaming Arse'oles

Zulu Warriors

The sons Of Britain

Fix Bayonets

Let's fucking do 'em!

© Tony McNally


War creates Whores

My wife doesn't love me anymore

But she lied often enough

She's had a go at happy families

My she's had it rough

She has lots of family and friends

I have nobody

Love is a bad thing we all crave

I'll blame the war.

War creates whores.

Those bastard foreign shores.

© Tony McNally

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