A poem from 85-year-old Don Filliston who has long remembered a family connection with The First World War. It stimulated him to write this poem.
Don Filliston’s introduction:
The Great War 1914 – 1918.
(Remembering how much they did for us.)
Sergeant Simms reporting Sir, in place of Lieutenant Hill.
The Troop rode out of Ypres, yesterday
And tethered horses up the road, by that old watermill;
Then towards the Hun on foot, thirty four men with a will,
To silence their machine guns, in our way.
We cut the wire and clambered through, midst sound of singing lead.
Our officer, pistol high, a great comrade.
We followed his example and all bravely charged ahead,
Then saw him drop like a stone, with a bullet in his head.
I was ready with my first hand grenade.
Chattering guns mowed us down, shells exploding all around.
Squelching mud and blood, on that treeless plain.
We wiped out their ‘nest’, just as they released gas; our lungs drowned.
We burst out from the billowing cloud and God’s fresh air, found;
Then our thin khaki line ‘closed up’ again.
In the darkness, we went back, for our lost forever dead
And gently placed ten troopers on our cart.
Then, when we returned to base, I made sure the men were fed
And looking at the state of ‘em, stood them down – ‘nough said.
Lieutenant Hill had a wish, close to his heart.
We know that you were friends, stretching back a fair old time.
We’ll miss him and our fallen mates, of course.
Here’s a letter for his Mother, his saddle, buffed to shine;
His trenchcoat and the cap he always wore up the ‘front line’.
Sir, most of all - would you take on his horse?
Don Filliston MBE