‘The Worcesters’ a First World War Poem by an Unknown Veteran

On 8th April 1916, The Evesham Journal published the followed poem, The Worcesters. The poet’s name was not given, it was just credited to  ‘A Veteran’.

With deeds so immortal, they have carven a name;
They wear undisputed the laurels of fame,
To the shades of Valhalla, the bravest and best,
As warriors unchallenged, have passed to their rest.
Through the length and the breadth of the country shall ring
The deeds of the Worcesters, for country and King.

In the shell-shattered breach of the line they are lying;
Firmly and fiercely a passage denying.
The hordes of the Prussian recoil from the shock.
As the surges retreat from the hard granite rock.
With deeds so heroic fresh honours they bring
To the Flag of the Worcesters, to country and King.

Our heroes are lulled by the Levantine swells,
As they rest in their graves at the grim Dardanelles;
When the full of that grim, tragic story is told,
Their deeds will resemble the Spartans of old.
No stain or a trace of dishonour shall cling
To the Worcesters who bled for their country and King.

When Peace reigns triumphant o’er Europe again;
Shall the blood-sacrifice have been offered in vain?
Should our children relinquish – “Oh perish the thought” –
The freedom so precious, their heart’s blood has bought.
To arms – as an Army of Phantoms – would spring
The Worcesters who died for their country and King.

The 1/1st Worcestershire Yeomanry, 4th and 9th Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment were posted to Gallipoli (the Dardanelles) between April 1915 and January 1916 (the Yeomanry withdrew in December 1915 and returned to Egypt). The British Army suffered over 200,000 casualties during the campaign of which 145,000 were due to sickness, the chief causes being dysentery, diarrhoea and enteric fever (typhoid). There are 31 Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries on the peninsula.

Broadway Remembers
8th April 2014

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