MARCH 1918


David Childs

Aware and worried that American troops would soon arrive in large numbers, on 21st March, the Germans launched a massive assault on the western front which carried all before it. Led by storm troopers, who bypassed the allied strong points, and aided by fog that hid them from observation, the Germans advanced rapidly and panicked the defenders many of whom fled. The question now being asked by the allied commanders and political leaders was, could their armies hold on until the reinforcements arrived?


That German advance claimed the lives of three Tisbury men, serving in the Wiltshire Regiment, who died within three days of one another. On 21st, Private Arthur Butt, the son of Michael and Mary Butt of Hindon Lane, was lost, his name being commemorated on the Pozieres memorial in France. Two days later, Private Ernest Gurd, died nearby. He was the second son of Henry and Cecily Gurd of 2 Furzelease, Tisbury Row, to be killed in the war. His name and that of Private Robert Hewitt, the son of James and Ellen Hewittof Tisbury, and husband of Margaret, who lived in Ewell, Surrey, who died the following day, are commemorated on the Arras Memorial.


The Americans were arriving in France with the patriotic zeal that the British soldiers had displayed in 1914. The poet, Edwin Curran, reflected this in his poem To France, more notable for its keenness rather than its quality.

To France! To France! The magic music falls
Across the world the voice of God now calls To France!
The war bells ring, and all the wide world gongs,
As soldiers march out with their battle songs
To France!

The bugles and the music of the earth
Call out with joy and marvellous mirth
To France!
To France for God, to France for Liberty
To France for Peace and our Democracy,
To France!

Columbia's hand now lifts the torch of war
And starts with blinding light across the star
To France!
The millions, brilliant, march on down the sky
And great America rings with all the cry
To France!

Come one, come all, to spend your lives and gold.
Come heroes, gentlemen, the brave, the bold,
To France!
Come, citizens in khaki, every one,
Come, find your God, come march into the sun,
To France!

To France, to France, the bugles, silver curled,
Go ringing out their chimes across the world
To France!
Come one, come all, the magic music falls,
The voice of God goes ringing with its calls,

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