bob and ben (2)
Ben and I as members of boat troop, training in typical North Sea conditions, mid 1970s
Bradbury Lines was an old war camp
On the edge of Hereford, wooden and damp
A place with a roof, hot water and a bed
A second world war basha, no more than a shed
But during my career I was only there for a bit
Away to all the wars, a place to store my kit
But when we were back it was great to relax
Each squadron had their own basha among those shacks
A taxi at the gate for an evening on the town
The conversation’s tough as the music tries to drown
If I walk into “The Booth” and hear “Pearl’s A Singer”
I know Ben’s already there
Putting the lads through the wringer
A man of few words but with a fearsome wit
He could get anyone biting, including me…the git
The women all loved him
For his honest but simple patter
With good looks to boot he’d shrug like it didn’t matter
I shared the basha with Ben for a couple of years
We’d work hard and train hard
Then go and have some beers
A great role model for a young trooper like me
He’d teach me all he knew, and I was getting it for free
His soldiering skills were second to none
His way of putting it across
Was by making it all fun
Apart from Elkie Brooks, Leonard Cohen was his style
The basha would wake up to “Suzanne”
That would always make me smile…
But sometimes it would make me cry
But I’m never going to fool ya
As I’m so sad that Ben never got to listen
To Leonard’s later and greatest song…”Hallelujah”
Old Bradbury Lines was eventually knocked down
Row by row by row
For a more updated and modern base
For the world’s military to get to know
The Regiment is changing, now the outside’s looking in
I really miss the quiet, but now there’s an awful din
Then Ben was killed in a foreign land
When I was told about this
It was like losing my right hand
So off down town with a bunch of mates
As it’s time to have a beer
I put on “Pearl’s A Singer”
To try to have some cheer
But It wasn’t the same without my old mate
And the present’s not the past
We just can’t keep open that gate
To help the past forever last
Our time at Bradbury Lines is really now history
To think that it would never change
Is really no longer a mystery
As I sit here looking back now
I can’t help but to get upset
At the loss of Ben…and Bradbury Lines
A time I’ll never forget

Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit

Categories Uncategorized7 Comments

7 thoughts on “FOR BEN AND BRADBURY LINES A Poem By Bob Shepherd”

  1. A great reflection Bob of a great friendship and special time in your life that encourages others to reflect on theirs.

  2. We have so few mates in our lives…. a great tribute . The SAS lad at the Booth Hall looms large in my memories of Hereford …The town would ne a much lesser place without them

Leave a Reply to Phil McCluskie Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s