Colin Ian Jeffery
Comrades In Arms - Poem by Colin Ian Jeffery
During the First World War 1914-18, the British raised many ‘Friends Brigades' from cities and towns. The brigades were made-up of men, friends from childhood or who had worked together. The recruiting sergeants promising they would be home by Christmas.
Our parents called us the jolly boys
And being friends, we sang our songs of childhood
Played in woods and ran through golden cornfields.
For we were country boys, bright stars of promise
Little Jimmy, Fred, Alfred and me.
We left school to work on farms
Had girlfriends, planned marriage and babies
Then came the country's call to arms
And full of pride we answered
Four mates together for king and country.
Out in France and onto the Somme
We marched heads high to the front
Thinking ourselves invincible
Living in trenches ankle deep in mud
Infested with lice and scampering rats.
The order from the general came
For the Brigade to go over the top
And in terror we stood with bayonets fixed
Waiting for our officer's whistle blasts
And moist of eye shook hands and said goodbye.
Whistles blew up and down the line
And we clambered up the ladders into hell
There was chatter of German machine guns
Screams of wounded dying men
As our Brigade fell like new mown hay.
The last post bugle call shivers the soul
And in neat rows the dead lie side by side
Marked by thousands of white crosses
Brothers in arms of the Friends Brigade
And among them, Little Jimmy, Fred, Alfred and me.
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