by ehistoryadmin on June 30, 2016



Poem by Angela Lane on the 100th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme 1916

The Somme




A spectacular show

Is about to

Be run,


This was the real battle.

My body was the second.

Fear brings desperation

A shelter was needed

Water and more,

Dry trenches, avoid fire, forget exhaustion,

Hidden Tunnels.

Underground warfare

Germans dug

We dug,

Side by Side


Listen, Dig,

Place explosive,



Terror, fear, flashes!

Fire, rain, crashes,

Spared for another Battle

My own.


The shoulders were raw,

The guns were heavy,

We marched all day,

Without a bevvie.


The silence,

Waiting for a shell !

Is my name on the bullet?

I must be in Hell


Optimism can kill.

Be prepared to drill,


Oh Mary.


Play cards ?

Learn to dive

Stay alive

Prepare for bombards





Au Revoir.


We could see them

As they could see us

Who will live?



The Battle of the Somme Began



Barbed wire.

Continuous fire.

Red blood flows,

Many decompose


We were mowed down

Like grass before the mower.

No man’s land,

Was their’s in death.


Jerry’s counter attacking,

Run, crawl

Over dead bodies.

Soldiers all.


Heat, Mud,

Reserves that never arrive

Will my life be spared?

Paddy the poet.



Brave or willing to die?

Not I,

Not Many,

Is this the reason I wear a

British Uniform.



We prayed in silence,

We prayed out loud,

Jesus was called upon,

His answer blank.

Private or Corporal

In this death battle

There is no rank


Casualties by the score,

Bombing raids,

Exploding shells,

I just can’t take any more.


Not a woman in sight,

Mammy I miss you tonight,

Oh Mary Dear,

I wish you were near.


The walking wounded.

As far as the eye can see,

The blind, the deaf,

That empty stare,

Death fast approaching

A 1000 Yards there.


I am too young to shave,

No time for hygiene.

Blood stained bandages being the norm,

Scars so raw,

Gross disfigurements,

Shell shocked.

Are we being mocked?


800 went over,

100 came back,

The Chaplain’s task was dark,

He wrote That letter.


Sleeping men,

Dead men,

Side by side,

We have no place to hide


The uniform is hot,

The tunic was very itchy,

The bites, the boils,

The rashes.

No creams, no cures,

March on or rot.


Walk in my boots

Full of my blood

Septic blisters, pain, pain, pain.


Newspapers were welcome,

As Soles for Shoes,

Hats, bums, beds,

Protection from the sun

No time to read.


A Skeleton Battalion



If I live to be an old man

The corpses, the smell,

Men decapitated,

Wasted lives.


Sir Douglas Haig,

You got it wrong,

The Hun is powerful.

Not many church funerals

Gone, No Gong, Gone, No Gong.


Trees, trenches, troops,

Trolleys for the wounded,

Stench of decomposing comrades

German soldiers,

Prisoners of war,

What is this for?


Water and Mother,

Were often muttered,

We dance with death.


The shells crashed,

We dashed,

Utter silence,

Sanity has been,

Slaughtered within us.


Angela Lane, Newbridge – 1 July 2016

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