WORLD WAR ONE CENTENARY
TISBURY AND THE GREAT WAR
January 1915 was a month when the U-Boat threat became very apparent with HMS Formidable being sunk on 1 January and one U-Boat sinking three merchant ships on 30 January. A new threat appeared when Zeppelins bombed Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn on 19 January.
In the North Sea the two fleets at last met up off the Dogger Bank but, despite the large number of ships involved the only casualty was the German battleship Blücher which was sunk; ironically a ship named after the general who came to Wellington's aid at Waterloo exactly one hundred years earlier.
On the Western Front other generals were playing leapfrog, with Sir William Robertson being appointed the Chief of the General Staff of the British Expeditionary Force. Back in London the decision was made to endorse Churchill's pet plan for an attack on the Dardanelles in Turkey.
THE JANUARY POEM
Much is recounted about young lads who joined up under-age, not so much about men who enlisted when over age. Just such a one was the poet Robert Ernest Vernède who joined the Rifle Brigade in 1914 four years over the age limit. He was wounded at the Somme in 1916 but returned to the front only to be killed while leading an attack on Havrincourt Wood on the 9 April 1917. This poem was written in early 1915.
A Listening Post
The sun's a red ball in the oak
And yonder rifleman and I
How could he know that if we fail
Strange that this bird sits there and sings
But maybe God will cause to be -
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