WORLD WAR ONE CENTENARY

JANUARY 1916

TISBURY AND THE GREAT WAR

David Childs

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

1916 was to be the year of two great battles, at sea at Jutland and on the Western Front at the Somme but the focus of the New Year lay elsewhere with the casualty free evacuation of Gallipoli being completed on 8 January, thereby saving innumerable lives in this stalemate of a conflict. Many of those evacuated would be shipped to Mesopotamia where an almost as futile struggle was beginning. Further East the Turks had a complete British army securely besieged at Kut, South of Baghdad, with the January relief operation petering out in failure. At home January saw the introduction of conscription for unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 41 - how many hasty marriages resulted in this is not known.

POEM FOR JANUARY

Gallipoli produced its own verse, not as well known as that of the Western Front but this sonnet by John William Street might serves as a finale to that anthology. Street, a Sergeant in the Yorks & Lancs Regiment had been sent out to Gallipoli and returned in time to take part in the Somme attack, being reported missing on 1 July 1916, the first day of that battle. His death was confirmed on 1 May 1917.

Gallipoli

Upon the margin of a rugged shore
There is a spot now barren, desolate,
A place of graves, sodden with human gore
That Time will hallow, Memory consecrate.

There lie the ashes of the mighty dead,
The youth who lit with flame Obscurity,
Fought true for Freedom, won thro' rain of lead
Undying fame, their immortality.

The stranger wand'ring when the war is over,
The ploughman there driving his coulter deep,
The husbandman who golden harvests reap-
From hill and ravine, from each plain and cover
Will hear a shout, see phantoms on the marge,
See men again making a deathless charge.

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