WORLD WAR ONE CENTENARY
TISBURY AND THE GREAT WAR
July was the month in which the tide finally turned. The Marne Offensive
(15 July - 5 August 1918) became the last German advance of the war.
It was intended as a diversionary attack either side of Reims to cross
the river Marne and draw the Allied reserves away from Flanders, where
Ludendorff was planning to make another attack to break through the
Allied line once and for all. The advance east of Reims was blocked
by the French defence on the first day. The attack west of Reims did
succeed in crossing the Marne river but, on 18 July, an Allied counter-attack,
comprising French, British, American and Italian troops, pushed the
German forces back and this would be their direction of travel for the
final hundred days.
We will remember them
June and July's casualty lists contained no Tisbury names. But the war had not finished with the village: as it drew towards its conclusion five more lads would lay down their lives.
POEM FOR JULY
In July Wilfred Owen, who had but a short time left to live, wrote what I believe to be the finest of his war poems and, thus, one of the most moving of all such poetry. It is a skilful sonnet not least because it runs for the traditional fourteen lines and then has a devastating codicil attached to it.
The Parable of the Old Men and the Young
So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
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