For the Fallen, 11/11/1918

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For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon

Lest we Forget


Lost Magpie
What will you do when the war is over, tender comrade
When we lay down our weary guns
And go our separate ways
When we return home to our wives and families
And look into the eyes of our sons
What will you say of the bond we had, tender comrade
Will you say that we were brave
As the shells fell all around us
Or that we wept and cried for our mothers
And cursed our fathers
For forgetting that all men are brothers

Will you say that we were heroes
Or that fear of dying among strangers
Tore our innocence and false shame away
And from that moment on deep in my heart I knew
That I would only give my life for love

Brothers in arms in each other arms
Was the only time that I was not afraid
What will you do when the war is over, tender comrade
When we cast off these khaki clothes
And go our separate ways
What will you say of the bond we had
Tender comrade
I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears;
And caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts;
And buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts;
And rusted every bayonet with His tears.

And there were no more bombs, of ours or Theirs,
Not even an old flint-lock, not even a pikel.
But God was vexed, and gave all power to Michael;
And when I woke he'd seen to our repairs.

Wilfred Owen

little e

This always reminds me of my Grandfather, he smoked Woodbines too

The Spirit

When there ain't no gal to kiss you,
And the postman seems to miss you,
And the fags have skipped an issue,
Carry on.

When ye've got an empty belly,
And the bulley's rotten smelly,
And you're shivering like a jelly,
Carry on.

When the Boche has done your chum in,
And the sergeant's done the rum in,
And there ain't no rations comin',
Carry on.

When the world is red and reeking,
And the shrapnel shells are shrieking,
And your blood is slowly leaking,
Carry on.

When the broken battered trenches,
Are like the bloody butchers' benches,
And the air is thick with stenches,
Carry on.

Carry on,
Though your pals are pale and wan,
And the hope of life is gone,
Carry on.
For to do more than you can,
Is to be a British man,
Not a rotten 'also ran,'
Carry on..

'Woodbine Willy'

Dear Lily,

The Captain says we've all been very patient,
To put up with the mud and noise and guns:
The Captain says it WILL soon all be over;
By Christmas or New Year, we'll all be done.

Love Albert.

Dear Lily,

The Captain says we'll finish it by lunchtime;
And then we can go home - the fighting stop:
The Captain says the Generals have decided,
At half past four, at dawn, we go over the top.

Love Albert.

Dear Lily,

The Captain says we’ll all get leave at Christmas,
But first we have to overcome the Hun;
The pale pink light of morning is approaching,
The final dawn offensive soon be done.

Love Albert.

Dear Lily,

The Captain says the poppies are a symbol
Of the rightness of this madness in the mud;
At dawn, the creeping coldness of the trenches
Will be tempered by the rising of the sun.

Love Albert.

Dear Lily,

The Captain says that when the war is over
And us heroes are returned to kith and kin,
We’ll forget that we were sick and cold and frightened
And everyone will welcome heroes in.

Love Albert.

Dear Lily.

The Captain says look straight ahead, don’t falter
And when the order comes to go, don’t be afraid;
For God is at the shoulder of the righteous…
And the poppy is the emblem of the brave.

Love Albert.

Dear Lily,

The dawn is here now, the poppies are beautiful.

Love Albert.

Found in a trench at Thievpal, on the Somme, 1st July 1916, addressee unknown


A poem I've found both moving and inspiring, it was found in the pocket of a dead 'unknown' soldier during WWI:

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there,
I did not die...

The Balanced View

CHAVASSE, Noel Godfrey

Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army
attd. 1/10th Bn., The King's (Liverpool) Regiment Campaign First World War

Age 31
Nationality English

Deed On 9 August 1916, at Guillemont, France, Captain Chavasse attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire, frequently in view of the enemy, and during the night he continued searching for wounded in front of the enemy's lines. Next day, under heavy shell fire he and a stretcher bearer carried an urgent case 500 yards to safety, being wounded himself during the journey. The same night, with 20 volunteers, he rescued three wounded men from a shell-hole 36 yards from enemy trenches, buried the bodies of two officers and collected many identity discs. Altogether he saved the lives of some 20 wounded men.
BAR: During the period 31 July to 2 August 1917, at Wieltje, Belgium, Captain Chavasse although severely wounded early in the action while carrying a wounded officer to the dressing station, refused to leave his post and in addition to his normal duties, went out repeatedly under heavy fire to attend the wounded. During this time, although practically without food, worn with fatigue and faint from his wound, he helped to carry in badly wounded men, being instrumental in saving many who would otherwise have died under the bad weather conditions. Captain Chavasse subsequently died of his wounds. BAR Gazette: 14 September 1917.

Killed In the above action.
Other Decorations MC
VC Publicly Displayed Imperial War Museum (London, England)

Remarks One of only three men to be awarded the VC twice (the others are A. Martin-Leake and C.H. Upham).

Bob Fleming

TBVs post shows a true hero, they all were who fought.

Not sure if you all know but if you have a relative who died you can locate their war grave at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

My great uncle died during the Gallipoli battles and is buried on the greek island of Lemnos.
Bob Fleming said:
TBVs post shows a true hero, they all were who fought.

Not sure if you all know but if you have a relative who died you can locate their war grave at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

My great uncle died during the Gallipoli battles and is buried on the greek island of Lemnos.
One of my Grandads Neighbours had lost a brother in the Great War around The Ypres battlefields... and since my brother was based in Ypres working for the Commonwealth War Graves commission he tracked down the old fellas brothers headstone... The old fella never had a chance to get to Belgium to pay his respects so my brother took a photo and when he was next at home he took it to him so that he could at least see for himself that he was in a peaceful place...

I f my brother had seen these threads nobody would get a word in sideways.... when he joined the CWC he got really interested in the war..

and he got a chance to meet many veterans who used to come to Ypres and pop in for a drink at the English club in the town
The missus' maternal family were decimated in the first world war. They are all buried in a row in the graveyard at horsted Keynes in Sussex: The dad, the brothers, the sons. The family name of Britton will certainly be the middle name of junior if its a boy.

Very sad - seeing all those hulking headstones lined up like they are standing on parade - fair brings a tear to my eye every time we go.

Lest we forget eh.
Just say guys this was atremendously sobering post - ny great grandad fought at the Somme and was not too keen to talk about it. My late Grandma told me that it had effected him deeply.

We don't appreciate how lucky we are


we are the last generation who will care sadly I think ( those of us 30 plus)

until school children have it impressed upon them how much was sacrificed it will slowly be forgotten

it should be in the curriculum to learn modern history properly and not the crap version they get at school these days

they should visit the huge cemetries in France and in all honesty I think they should also visit the Nazi death camps as well if only to learn how low human beings can really go

kids have no understanding of what people went through even more so for a conscipted army of non professionals in the end who were just like you and me but had the guts and willpower to do what needed to be done

pity help us all if we ever need to rely on people these days


A couple from Eric Bogle:

The Green Fields of France
Eric Bogle

Well, how do you do, young Willie McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here dawn by your graveside,
And rest for a while heath the warm summer sun,
I've been worldng all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,
When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen,
I hope you died well and I hope you died clean,
Or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene.

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the life lowly.
Did they sound the dead march as they lowered you down,
And did the band play the Last Post and chorus,
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest.

2. And did you leave awife or a sweetheart behind,
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined.
Although you died back in nineteen sixteen,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen.
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed and forever behind the glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

3. The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze, it makes the red poppies dance.
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it's still no-man's-land.
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand,
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.

4. Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why they died.
And did they believe when they answered the cause
Did they really believe that this war would end wars.
Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying was all done in vain.
For young Willie McBride it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.


The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda
Eric Bogle

Now when I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war.

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As the ship pulled away from the quay,
And amidst all the cheers, the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water;
And of how in that hell that they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was waitin', he primed himself well;
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell --
And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
When we stopped to bury our slain,
Well, we buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then we started all over again.

And those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
And when I woke up in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead --
Never knew there was worse things than dying.

For I'll go no more "Waltzing Matilda,"
All around the green bush far and free --
To hump tents and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more "Waltzing Matilda" for me.

So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us back home to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To grieve, to mourn and to pity.

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As they carried us down the gangway,
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared,
Then they turned all their faces away.

And so now every April, I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory,
And the old men march slowly, all bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask meself the same question.

But the band plays "Waltzing Matilda,"
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?


Bob Fleming said:
TBVs post shows a true hero, they all were who fought.

Not sure if you all know but if you have a relative who died you can locate their war grave at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

My great uncle died during the Gallipoli battles and is buried on the greek island of Lemnos.
Thanks for this Bob.

My Dad's uncle died on board HMS Hood when it was sunk by the Bismark in 1941...

HMS Hood was destroyed with the largest single Naval loss of life during WW2, out of 1, 419 men only three were rescued.

There's an excellent memorial website here...


GingerNick said:
we are the last generation who will care sadly I think ( those of us 30 plus)
Personally I make sure that my kids (7 and 9) are fully aware of what happenned and how it happened.

I totally agree with GingerNick, we owe it to the Glorious Dead that we and our children remember what they did and more importantly... why they did it!


Anyone wanting to check out the two Eric Bogle tunes can find them on albums by June Tabor (her's were the first versions i heard) as well as some other folky type people. They are stark reminders of what it must have been like.

'Waltzing Matilda' is sung unaccompamied and is absoloutely haunting. It's about the Anzacs at Gallipoli. 'Green Fields of France' I think was called 'Flowers of the Forest' on her album. It brings tears to my eyes even just reading it.

Lest we forget.


Bishop Boy

last year, while on holiday in holland, we stopped the day in ypres, and it was haunting the amount of war cemetries, both large and small, around the town, and the gate, sorry i can't remember it's name, entirely covered in the names of the dead took my breathe away.

if you are ever in the area i would recommend you visit it, and take the kids aswell, they need to know about our history, and this is the best way to show them.

i am 25, and learnt nothing about the two great wars, apart from a few datails about ww1 in 3rd year (year 9 for the kids) history, luckily, my dad is interested in the wars, and i picked it up from him, and i am glad i did.

sorry for going on a bit

The Balanced View

It's called the Menin Gates.

after the slovenia v Norway match in Arnhem in Euro 2000 me and my mates paid a visit to the war museum there. Fascinating stuff.

As we were pushed for time 3 of us had to leave to catch the ferry but the other 3of my mates were pushing onto amsterdam so they stayed to have a look around the cemetary.

I spoke with them when we all got together again after the torunament and they said that there was a special Jewish part of the cemetary that left them fighting back tears.

Arnhem was the scene of some ferocious and of course famous fighting and although I cant remmeber the whoel story the allies suffered a lot of casualties.

As I said on the first page my Great Uncle also died on HMS Hood. He is still very much in my family's thoughts even to this day. I believe they found Hood in the icy waters off Iceland.

I think fate dealt a hand in sealing the final resting place of The Bismarck. It nearly made it home...but not quite. The bismarck survivors said that they didnt realise the enormity of what they had done until they staretd to be huinted by what appeared to be half the Royal Navy.

elation at sinking Hood gave way to a sober thought that they might not make it home...and so it proved.

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