WORLD WAR ONE CENTENARY

NOVEMBER 1917

TISBURY AND THE GREAT WAR

David Childs

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

On 6th November the flattened village of Passchendaele was captured by the allies bringing that bloody battle to a stuttering conclusion after its muddy maw had swallowed up about 260,000 casualties on both sides. In the Middle East the British were closing in on Jerusalem. At the Battle of Mughar Ridge, Henry Hoare, the sole heir to Stourhead was fatally wounded, as a result of which that nearby property with its wonderful grounds passed to the National Trust. Between 17th and 24th November the fierce Battle of Nebi Samuel, a hill overlooking Jerusalem where it is claimed the prophet Samuel is buried, was fought with the allies, lacking artillery support unable to break through to the holy city. In France attacks and counter-attacks continued near Cambrai with Gouzecourt village exchanging hands, sometimes daily.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

Three young men from Tisbury were killed in foreign field in November 1917. Private Leonard Chivers, aged 22, of the Wiltshire Regiment and Private Edward Maidment, aged 30, serving with the Hampshires, died on the 22nd November, during the battle for Nebi Samuel. They are commemorated at the Jerusalem War Cemetery. On the 30th, 25-year old Lance Corporal William Goodfellow, of the Coldstream Guards, was killed in the fighting around Gouzecourt. Leonard Chivers had lived at Down View, Hindon, while Edward Maidment came from The Quarry, Tisbury.

POEM FOR NOVEMBER

Anniversary by Vera Brittain

They come again, strange ghosts of days long dead,
Wreathed with the shadowy joys that once we knew,
When withered hair was gold and pale lips red.

Strange ghosts of days long dead, that we lived through,
When love was young, with shining rose-crowned head,
Ere 'mid our flower the bitter grief-herb grew.

From regions whither all our dreams are fled,
That aching wounds, long hid, may bleed anew,
They come again, strange ghosts of days long dead.


From Home
To the Men who Fell at Beaumont Hammel, 13 November 1916

The pale sun woke in the eastern sky
And a veil of mist was drawn
Over the faces of death and fame
When you went up in the dawn.
With never a thought of fame or death,
Only the work to do,
When you went over the top, my friends,
And I not there with you.

The veil is rent with a rifle-flash
And shows me plain to see
Battle and bodies of men that lived
And fought along with me.
Oh God! It would have been so hard
If I'd been in it too,
But you are lying stiff, my friends,
And I not there with you.

So here I sit in a pleasant room
By a comfortable fire,
With everything that a man could want,
But not the heart's desire.
So I sit thinking and dreaming still,
A dream that won't come true,
Of you in the German trench, my friends,
And I not there with you.


©  Tisbury History Society
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