A member of the St Barnabas Institute - Ferdi - Pte. A V Ferdinando sent this poem, to the St Barnabas Magazine in 1917
UP THE LINE
They’re a fresh draft out from Blighty: they haven’t seen the line.
But they’re looking forward to it - think’s it’s fun.
Well us “Old ‘uns” leave ‘em to it- let them think as ‘ow it’s fine;
But we know they’ll change their minds afore there’re done.
It ain’t for us to make ‘em “windy” - good luck to every one -
They’ve got to carry on while we’re P.B,
And we tell ‘em how it’s OK being up against the Hun -
“Wish we were going too,” to watch the spree.
They’ll soon know the truth , “God help ‘em”, but their British good
They’ll hold the line and stick it with the best.
They’ll miss the tent and blanket, and find the “doings” rough,
And thank God when they come out for a rest.
The shells ‘ll make ‘em nervy when they’re whistling overhead,
And it’s “Heads down boys”, and close up to the bay;
When it’s pitched and busted up, they’ll get to see who’s dead,
And laugh to find it’s shifted bags and clay.
There’s some little wooden crosses all scattered here and there,
It’s the boys that’s been and done their little all -
Just two sticks and “R.I.P” marks a spot that tells us where
Some mother’s son “went West” at duty’s call.
“Fall in”, the call’s a-sounding; “ ‘Shun, the Chaplain’s here”;
“Stand easy” while he speaks of God and King -
Just a little prayer, and then we give a roaring cheer
As they march out for the line and real thing.
Ah! There’s many gone up yonder who’ll not come back again,
While those at home are left to fret and pine;
But it comforts their sad hearts, and it kind of eases pain,
To know they’ll meet again “across the line”.
Sydney Mansell, a member of the St Barnabas Institute and serving with the 23rd County of London Regt sent this poem back to Dulwich.
PLAYING THE GAME
Think this of me, what e’re my plight
That, though of courage not too great
Great courage had I found from the Might
Of Him, Who guideth every fate.
Who blazed this creed before mine eyes:
“Play, Play the Game, naught matters otherwise.
Nor pain, nor peril, Death, and Death’s unknown,
Hath power to kill this simple creed.
That disregarded nothing can condemn
While nothing else can serve our country’s need.
This clarion call through ebb and tide,
“Play, Play the Game”, rings echoing wide.
Yes, many a time when treading long
Through valleys black with shadows grim,
This radiant thought dispels the gloom;
And lifts the heart and drooping limb,
And all is well through this one thing
“Play, Play the Game”, and playing, sing.
Sing of the joy that no one knows
Save he, who, braving death from hour to hour,
That right may triumph over wrong,
Feels conscious of an inner power
To rob from Death its transient power
“Play, Play the Game,” and endless life attain.
Sydney Mansell L. Williams June 15th 1917 23rd County of London Regt
“ Dulce et decorum est - ”
At the martial trumpet they joined the fray
In the F.S.R. * and the R.F.A.*
For the cry was Freedom, the price was war.
The call was “Honour,” the true man’s law.
And the word rang forth like a victor’s bell:
“There are no slackers in Camberwell.”
Let the “round -ups” their scanty harvest glean
‘Twixt Ealing, Poplar and Golder’s Green.
But we need no cordon; no force or might
Shall out arms restrain when the cause is Right,
For we’re all true men in the South that dwell,
And there are no slackers in Camberwell!
When “The Day” is done and the night is past,
And we’ve broken the Hun Iconoclast;
When we’ve made a piece that is firm and strong
And out heroes deeds live in fame and song
Let the glorious page of history tell
That there were no slackers in Camberwell!
F.H.W. (published in South London Observer 1917)
* First Surrey Rifles, * Royal Field Artillery (Camberwell Gun Brigade)