1914-18 War

aka the First World War

B104-82

When an officer was killed in World War One, the British Army told his next of kin by telegram. Lower-ranked men’s deaths were reported on Form B104-82. ‘Calamity’ is a poem by E.H. Visiak. Private Ted was my great uncle.

 

Visiak’s Calamity once said
From heart to heart grief’s wireless sped
No officer, this Hoxton lad
No telegram to mum and dad
Grief’s letters only slowly plod
Five weeks through Flanders’ shell-churned sod
’Til death’s cold-morning cockerel crowed
Outside a house on Edgware Road
Five weeks false hope for Private Ted
At last they learned their son was dead

Masterless Men

After the Battle of Waterloo, the British ruling class got in a bit of a panic about unemployed ex-servicemen roaming the country, worried that these 'masterless men' would cause trouble. A similar fear haunted Lloyd George's Liberal-Tory coalition government after the end of the war a century ago.

The masterless men
strike cold fear in the soul
of the masters resolved
that they stay in control

'Government'

by Janine Booth (intro) / Eva Gore-Booth (poem) - published in Solidarity 334

Eva Gore-Booth (1870–1926) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and a suffragist and labour movement activist.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - 1914-18 War