Sunday, 9 January 2022

A poem written by an unknown Captain in the Army Ordnance Depot (AOD), Boulogne, France, WW1

From “Reported Missing in the Great War 100 years of searching for the truth” by John Broom, with a foreword by Paul Reed (Pen & Sword Military, 2020) p. 123.

The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) was a corps of the British Army. At its renaming as a Royal Corps in 1918 it was both a supply and repair corps. In the supply area it had responsibility for weapons, armoured vehicles and other military equipment, ammunition and clothing and certain minor functions such as laundry, mobile baths and photography. The RAOC was also responsible for a major element of the repair of Army equipment. 

“The Forgotten Letter”

1. Don’t go to the ‘Pictures’ or ‘Concert hall’,

But stay in your billet tonight,

Deny yourself to your pals that call,

And a Good long letter write.

Write to the Dear ones left at home.

Who sit when the day is done.

In the even’s twilight cold & grey,

And dream of the absent one.

2. Don’t selfishly scribble ‘Excuse my haste’,

I’ve but little time to write,

Les their anxious heart should yearn as they think

Of many a bygone night;

When they lost their needed sleep & rest.

And every breath was a prayer.

That God should keep their loving son

Through life in His tender care.

3. Don’t let them feel that you have no need

Of their love and counsel wise,

For the heart grows very sensitive

When sorrow has dimmed the eyes.

Remember, comrade, your mother’s words

As you entered the ranks with delight

‘Good-bye’ and ‘God bless you’ my dear brave boy

And ‘Don’t forget to write’.

4. Now I wonder if ever you give a thought

As with comrades you daily unite

To the anxious suspense you may have caused

By neglecting that letter to write.

I know that ‘tis well to have comrades true

Who make your pleasures gay

But they have but half the thought for you

That your mother has to-day.

5. So tell them what you intend to do

Let them and your pleasure wait

Lest the letter for which your mother has longed

Be a day or an hour too late

For with loving heart she waits at home

With cheeks tear-stained & white

Longing to hear from her soldier son

Who perhaps has forgotten to write.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

A poem written by WW1 soldier poet and schoolteacher Ernest Denny (1888 - 1917)

A poem written by Ernest I. Denny (1888 - 1917) for Miss B. Gaviller and published on page 16 of a collection of his poems entitled “Triumphant Laughter: Poems 1914 – 1917”, which was published in paperback form by Brentham Press, London, UK in 1978.

Having posted this on several Facebook pages, I received a reply from Julie Cauvin from the Facebook Group Wenches in Trenches about Miss B. Gaviller. Julie says :  "Her full name was Babette Olive Gaviller.   She was born in England in 1892 and emigrated to Canada with her parents in 1898. She died in Collingwood, Simcoe, Ontario on 13th March 1970.

I think she had a sweetheart named Victor. One of her family members on Ancestry says on 13th June 1916, in the Canadian Convalescent Home for Officers, near Dieppe, France, Olive wrote “While we have been here, so many officers, both Canadians and English, have told me over and over again how splendid he (Victor) was at the front”. She never married.

No one is even remembering her on Find a Grave. I’ll put in a request for a picture of her grave. She’s buried at All Saints Anglican Cemetery, Collingwood, Ontario.

Babette served from 9/7/1915 until 4/3/1919."

Photo of Babette’s grave from Julie:  Here you go, she's buried with her parents."