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 A poem dedicated to the memory of the fallen during the Great War 1914-18


By Ian C Garside


When the whistle blows.

Over the top boys, over the top.

Scramble the ladder and up on your toes,

from trench into hell when the whistle blows.

Over the top boys, over the top.


Over by Christmas just wait, wait and see

cry the voices of hope and powers that be.

Lights over Europe would flicker then out

each side buoyed up by the certain rout.


All pals together to face down the Hun,

charge at the foe with bayonet and gun.

The enemy waits with baited breath,

to loose off volleys of certain death,


Over the top boys, over the top.


For King or Kaiser came the rallying cry

 kill or be killed, to live and let die.

Trust unto God or roll of the dice,

face down in mud attended by lice.


Through booming shells hang on to your hat,

Knee-deep in slime there is no going back.

Gulping for air through machine gun rattle

scurrying like rats into futile battle.


Upwards and onwards and eternal glory,

yard by yard through the gas and the fury.

The Reaper beckons come meet thy maker

shrouds at the ready sighs the coffin draper.


Over the top boys, over the top.


Christmas falls with handshakes and names,

fellowship, carols, then football games.

Tunics for goalposts and a ball is gifted,

Joy to the World spirits briefly lifted.


Sport not war was the winner that day,

But the truce only masked its feet of clay.

The whistle blows so line up the willing,

no man’s land waits for the price of a shilling.


In Flanders fields where Poppies flourished,

Lies soul upon soul, crushed, unnourished.

Remember them all, both sides to a man

that never again will slaughter to lamb.


The guns fell silent at eleven o’clock

war to end all wars had come to a stop.

Gone are the ones briefly befriended,

finally done, the carnage is ended.


Lest we forget them count the great loss,

carve names in stone and mark with a cross.

Brothers in arms entombed in a row,

No more to hear the death whistle blow.


Over the top boys, over the top. Over, over, over.


Ian had two uncles who served in the First War, one of whom, Ralph Garside, fought in, and survived, The Somme. Having a strong interest in the two world wars, Ian wanted to create the poem to honour those who have sacrificed so much in war.


TMT is very grateful to Ian for asking us to publish this poem. We hope that it inspires other to send in their works – poems or prose. We will do our best to publish such works. This is particularly the case where something is written in honour of a person who might have been killed in battle if it helps to re-tell their story and perpetuate their memory.  

Comments on A poem dedicated to those who fell in the 14-18 War.

There are 3 comments on A poem dedicated to those who fell in the 14-18 War.

  1. Comment by Rod Kelly

    Rod Kelly

    Excellent piece of poetry, sums it up to a T

  2. Comment by Tracy Richards

    Tracy Richards

    Wow what a powerful reminder of life in the trenches.
    Thankyou Ian.

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