A poignant remembrance….
Whilst sorting through some old books from my parent’s house, a newspaper cutting fell out. The cutting was undated but by using the British Newspaper Archive I have determined that it dates from the First World War when my grandfather William Guy CLARK had lost his brother Frederick Charles CLARK, serving in the Hampshire regiment, at Gallipoli and my grandmother Edith Shepherd had lost a cousin in the Royal Navy.
To have been kept so long, the poignancy of this poem must have struck a chord with my mother’s parents or even their parents.
Fair Oak Branch
THOSE OLD CIVILIAN CLOTHES
They are packed away in cupboards,
And filling many a drawer;
So neatly darned and mended,
The clothes that “Our Boys” wore.
Such wonderful cricket blazers,
That somehow would always tear:
Old football togs, with the sweaters,
Folded with loving care.
Lounge suits, clock socks, fancy waistcoats
And overcoats almost new,
With heaps, and heaps, of collars,
And ties of every hue.
But the lads who used to wear them,
For England have gone to fight;
Soldiers now – on the battlefield,
Each one a brave true knight.
Gone forth with that fine old valour,
Our forefathers showed of old,
With their fresh young limbs in khaki,
How keen they were, how bold!
And some will sleep their last long sleep,
Mayhap ‘neath a stranger’s sod;
But the brave souls that were “Our Boys”,
Will safely rest with God.
But the wrench in her loving heart
‘Tis only a mother knows.
When she looks at those tidy heaps
Of old civilian clothes.
Dorothy N Saunders of Fletching, Sussex.
Agricultural Express 14 January 1916