Saturday, 8 November 2008

Rememberance Sunday 2008

This is a repeat of a post that I uploaded last year.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

In Memoriam
by Ewart Alan Mackintosh
(killed in action 21 November 1917 aged 24)
(Private D Sutherland killed in action in the German trenches, 16 May 1916, and the others who died.)

So you were David's father,

And he was your only son,

And the new-cut peats are rotting

And the work is left undone,

Because of an old man weeping,

Just an old man in pain,

For David, his son David,

That will not come again.

Oh, the letters he wrote you,

And I can see them still,

Not a word of the fighting,

But just the sheep on the hill

And how you should get the crops in

Ere the year get stormier,

And the Bosches have got his body,

And I was his officer.

You were only David's father,

But I had fifty sons

When we went up in the evening

Under the arch of the guns,

And we came back at twilight -

O God! I heard them call

To me for help and pity

That could not help at all.

Oh, never will I forget you,

My men that trusted me,

More my sons than your fathers',

For they could only see

The little helpless babies

And the young men in their pride.

They could not see you dying,

And hold you while you died.

Happy and young and gallant,

They saw their first-born go,

But not the strong limbs broken

And the beautiful men brought low,

The piteous writhing bodies,

They screamed 'Don't leave me, sir',

For they were only your fathers

But I was your officer.

Inspiration for the Poem
On the evening of 16 May, 1916 Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh and Second Lieutenant Mackay of the 5th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders led a raid on the German trenches in the sector of the front line north-west of Arras. By the end of the night there were sixteen British casualties, which included fourteen wounded and two killed. One of the two dead soldiers was Private David Sutherland.
Private David Sutherland has no known grave. His name is commemorated in Bay 8 of the Arras Memorial to the Missing at Faubourg d'Amiens military cemetery in Arras.

Taken from the website

Letters home: 'Pray for me'
Lance-Corporal Frank Earley was a young journalist from Derby who regularly 
wrote to his family from the front.

His letters were normally full of enthusiasm and excitement. In July 1918 he 

wrote, "As you see, I am still alive and well, and as usual enjoying life to the full."

It is only in his very last letter, on 1 September 1918, that he revealed his more

reflective side.

The next day Frank Earley suffered a serious wound to his chest and died

some hours later. He was 19.

Sunday afternoon, 1 Sep, 1918.

My dear Father, 

It is a strange feeling to me but a very real one, 

that every letter now that I write home to you 

or to the little sisters may be the last that I shall 

write or you read. I do not want you to think that 

I am depressed; indeed on the contrary, I am 

very cheerful. But out here, in odd moments the 

realisation comes to me of how close death is to us. 

A week ago I was talking with a man, a catholic, 

from Preston, who had been out here for nearly 

four years, untouched. He was looking forward 

with certainty to going on leave soon. And now 

he is dead - killed in a moment during our last 

advance. Well it was God's will.

I say this to you because I hope that you will 

realise, as I do, the possibility of the like happening

to myself. I feel very glad myself that I can look the 

fact in the face without fear or misgiving. Much as 

I hope to live thro' it all for your sakes and my little 

sisters! I am quite prepared to give my life as so many 

have done before me. All I can do is put myself in 

God's hands for him to decide, and you and the little 

ones pray for me to the Sacred Heart and Our Lady.

I hope that you will not move out of the old house yet. 

Write and let me know when anything happens. I see 

that you went to Preston a few days ago. It seems 

years and years since I tried to get drowned in the canal.

Well I have not much time left and I must end.

With my dear love. Pray for me. 

Your son


Frank Earley is buried at Bac-de-Sud Military Cemetery, Bailleulval, nr Arras.

His letters are held by the documents library at the Imperial War Museum. 

Extracts appear in 1918 Year of Victory by Malcolm Brown.

Letters home: Becoming a man
EJ 'Ted' Poole was the younger brother of a 
soldier who was killed at the third battle of 
Ypres in 1917. The young Ted was conscripted 
in May 1918 and trained at Aldershot, from 
where the letter below was posted. It is clear 
he was replying to the concerned enquiries of 
his father, who, having already lost one son, 
wanted Ted to become a good soldier in the 
hope that it would improve his chances of 
survival. Ted, who was sent to France in August 
1918, wrote that he sure that the training 
would "either make a man of me or kill me". 

Scarcely two months later, on 13 October, he was 
killed in action. He was 18.

28th May, 1918,

Dear Father,

Just a few lines in answer to your letter which I 

received today.Yes I have got used to the puttees,

as they have shaped to my legs by now. And I am 

getting used to my other things now, as I have been

dished out with a rifle and bayonet, and now when 

I go on parade I have got to wear my belt, bayonet 

and cartridge pouch and also take the rifle.

They have been teaching us bayonet fighting today 

and I can tell you it makes your arms ache, when you 

make a point that is, when you lunge out at imaginary 

enemy, with the rifle at arms length. I think with 

this hard training they will either make a man of me 

or kill me. You ought to see me in my Shrapnel Helmet 

and Gas Mask, it would make you laugh, especially as 

the helmet wobbles from side to side, every time I walk.

Yes I got my food alright and you can have supper if 

you like to go for it, and you can bet I always go for 

supper. I am taking your advice and eating all I can.

Yes I did remember Dolly's birthday and I have sent 

her a little badge of my Regiment which she asked for 

and which I expect you have  received by now. You will 

have to tell Miss Farmer that I think she will have 

to wait another two months before she sees me on leave.

I will see the officer about the allowance in a day or 

so, as I have heard today that two or three boys 

mothers are receiving an allowance, but I don't know 

how much.

Well, I think I will have to close now. As I haven't 

anything more to say just at present. Hoping you are 

quite well.

From your loving son,



PS. Love to Dolly and Frank 

After the war Ted Poole's family erected a headstone which 

bore the inscription, "Out of the stress of the doing, into 

the peace of the done". He is buried at Naves Communal 

Extension Cemetery, near Cambrai in France.

EJ Poole's letters are held in the documents library at the 

Imperial War Museum. Extracts are also published in Malcolm 

Brown's book 1918 Year of Victory.

The above letters were taken from the BBC website Special Report.


  1. a touching tribute Roz - we should never ever forget

  2. ....very touching indeed....I feel so lucky when I read something like this - so sad and Paula is right, we should NEVER EVER FORGET!

  3. Beautiful post Roz, so touching...feel so humble after reading it. I would like to say we never forget but we still don't have world peace do we!
    I have an award for you on my blog. Debbie x

  4. Very moving post.

    I have some photo's of a poignant war memorial I'd like to post later today (11th) I hope I have time to do them as it is going to be a busy day.


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Love Roz