WW1 Researcher Debbie Cameron sent me a poem written by Claude Edward Cole Hamilton Burton who, I discovered from Catherine Reilly’s “Bibliography of English Poetry of WW1” used the pen-names Touchstone and C.E.B. Debbie has been researching a soldier who was in one of the Sportsman’s Battalions, to which Touchstone’s poem was dedicated.
Sportsmen of every kind,God! We have paid the score
Who left green English fields behind
For the sweat and stink of war!
New to the soldier's trade,
Into the scrum we came,
But we didn't care much what game we played
So long as we played the game.
We learned in a hell-fire schoolEre many a month was gone,
But we knew beforehand the golden rule,
"Stick it, and carry on!"
And we were a cheery crew,
Wherever you find the rest,
Who did what an Englishman can do,
And did it as well as the best.
Aye, and the game was good,A game for a man to play,
Though there's many that lie in Delville Wood
Waiting the Judgment Day.
But living and dead are made
One till the final call,
When we meet once more on the Last Parade,
Soldiers and Sportsmen all!
By Touchstone (of the "Daily Mail"), July 1916.
Claude Edward Cole Hamilton Burton was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK on 27th August 1869. His parents were Dr. William Edward Burton, a medical practitioner from Ireland and his wife Janet. Claude had the following siblings: Lilian Mary, b. 1967 and Charles Vaudeleur, b. 1868. The family lived in Marylebone, London and Claude became a journalist, working for The Daily Mail” and the “London Evening News”. In 1921, he married Lilian M. Harragin. Claude retired to live in Hailsham, Sussex, UK, where he died in 1955.
Claude’s WW1 collection, “Fife and Drum: Poems”, was published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1915 and his poems were reproduced in three WW1 anthologies.
With many thanks to Debbie who sent me this link to a WW1 book about the Battalions: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20377/20377-h/20377-h.htm