FOLLOWING a visit to the First World War battlefields and military cemeteries in Belgium and northern France, Warwick resident John Payton was moved to pen a poem which he titled The Unknown Soldier.
The Unknown Soldier
‘A Soldier of the Great War’ it said
‘Known Only Unto God’ it read
But why is it that he’s unknown
Did he die in No Man’s Land alone?
Is he here by some cruel twist of fate
Is his name inscribed on the Menin Gate?
As he was known, and loved and missed
When his name appeared on the Casualty List
Did he come from a town in an English Shire
To die alone in the Passchendaele mire?
Or from a northern town, from a mill or a mine
Or the banks of the Mersey or the River Tyne?
Did he hail from the Midlands, from a village or city?
One of hundreds of thousands, such a terrible pity
With his helmet worn at a jaunty angle
And bayonet and mess tin all a-jangle
Was he from the Home Counties, from London or Devon
From Norfolk or Wessex or the banks of the Severn?
Was he Irish or Scottish, or a Welshman maybe
Or from the Colonies, the Empire or the Land of the Free?
So ‘Known Unto God’ is carved there in stone
But remembered by many when he didn’t come home
Those old black and white films still show him quite clearly
With that old cheeky grin remembered so dearly
And there’s a faded brown photo in an old gilded frame
That our grandma still shows us when we mention his name
So what was it that drove all those brave men
To face death’s dire threat again and again?
They’re the Lost Generation who we’ll never meet
Who were sent out to achieve an impossible feat
So the least we can do now is to remember
At 11am on the 11th of November
That this brave little army of ordinary men
Fought and died so that we would think kindly of them.