In 2010, with the full support of the MOD, John Jeffcock, poet and a former soldier in the Coldstream Guards, invited contributions for a book of modern war poems. He was overwhelmed by the response: contributions came from serving soldiers, veterans and their families - wives, sisters, daughters (one just 11 years old). The writers have one thing in common: these are people whose lives have been changed by war, and the poems speak to readers with direct, emotional appeal. While over half of the contributions relate to Afghanistan, there are also poems inspired by World War II, The Falklands and Northern Ireland. This is also the first time that poems have been gathered from all ranks and all organizations - from the Parachute Regiment to the Special Air Service, from the Gordon Highlanders to the Royal Marines. As the poetry of Brooke, Owen and Sassoon spoke to those who endured World War I, here are poems that speak of war in our time - the theatres of war might change but the emotional resonance remains the same.
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[Heroes] is a humbling project, allowing the voices of those whose lives have been changed by war to speak to us with the raw directness of feeling and experience - Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate
[John Jeffcock] has provided a unique opportunity for many to express their emotions in poetry as our forefathers did in previous conflicts. - Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter KCVO OBE Dl, CEO, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
I have read many war poems written by those who have taken part in previous conflicts, and is only right and proper that we now have a book of poems by those who have witnessed modern day warfare. It's important that war is told like it is as future generations need to understand the sacrifice of past conflicts. - Andy McNab
Some very moving poems... so much better for being raw and spontaneous - Country Life
About the Author
John Jeffcock, born in London in 1968, passed out of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1989 to join the Coldstream Guards. He was part of the Allied Force that entered Iraq and freed Kuwait, the UN protection force in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and served in South Armagh's 'Bandit Country', one of the most notorious parts of Northern Ireland. Over the same period he trained in armoured infantry in Germany, desert and jungle warfare in Kenya and ceremonial duties in London.
He was mentioned in despatches, won one of the most arduous infantry competitions and left the army after six years as a captain. He is married to Katrin and lives in West London with his family.