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 SANDY BAY PROBUS  

The President and Committee wish to acknowledge

ANZAC DAY

It is our National Day of Remembrance, where we reflect with gratitude, and honour the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.

        

 

On an autumn day in 1914 Laurence Binyon sat on a cliff in North Cornwall, somewhere between Pentire Point and the Rump. It was less than seven weeks after the outbreak of war, but British casualties were mounting. Long lists of the dead and wounded were appearing in British newspapers. With the British Expeditionary Force in retreat from Mons, promises of a speedy end to war were fading fast.

Against this backdrop Binyon, then Assistant Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, sat to compose a poem that Rudyard Kipling would one day praise as “the most beautiful expression of sorrow in the English language”.

“For the Fallen”, as Binyon called his poem, was published in The Times on 21 September 1914. “The poem grew in stature as the war progressed”, Binyon’s biographer John Hatcher observed, “accommodating itself to the scale of the nation’s grief”.

At the going down of the sun we will remember.

More than a century on, Binyon’s poem endures as a dignified and solemn expression of loss. The fourth stanza - lifted to prominence as “The Ode of Remembrance” - is engraved on cenotaphs, war memorials and headstones in war cemeteries throughout the English-speaking world. Recited at Remembrance services in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the poem serves as a secular prayer:

 

                                            They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
                                              Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;
                                               At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
                                                                   We will remember them.

                                        

                                                                            Lest We Forget

  SANDY BAY PROBUS

The attached song (Lyrics) have been kindly loaned to us by Ed Robins about his grandfather who fought and was wounded in WW1

 

                                                The Ballad of Fred Wilson

My name is Fred Wilson, soldier 6919, enlisted to serve on the Western frontline.

I married sweet Ivy just 10 weeks before I sailed off to fight in the “war to end wars”.

I was just a young farmer, the oldest of ten; I thought it my duty to volunteer then.

So we went up to Melbourne to answer the call; enlisted and kitted at Broadmeadows hall. 

            But if I had known then what I found later on,

            I wonder if I would have gone; I wonder if I would have gone.

 

It was nineteen seventeen, on the twelfth day of May, when we sailed off to war out of Port Phillip Bay.

In the troop ship Ascanius we left Station Pier, with the crowd waving flags and our loved ones in tears.

Life on board ship was a strange world to me, with French lessons, seasickness, boring routine.

A good two months later we reached Plymouth town, our convoy survived German raiders all round. 

And if I had known then what I found later on,

I don’t know if going was wrong; don’t know if it’s right or it’s wrong.

 

So we went to the Somme, where thousands had died, then Passchendaele, Belgium, with Poms at our side.

The Germans were losing so they brought in the gas; they bombed us and burned us and killed us en masse.

They gassed us, the bastards, and hoped we would die - that foul mustard gas burnt our lungs and our eyes.

But some made it back clinging on to our mates, through the smoke and the fire of that terrible place.

And if I had known then what I found later on,

I don’t know how I’d carry on; I don’t know how I’d carry on.

 

The Pont Remy hospital then was my home, and Abbeville, Havre and others unknown.

In 1919 they at last shipped us home and I held my young daughter I never had known.

The gas never left me the next forty years, coughing my lungs out; poor Ivy in tears.

Up to the Repat when cancer hit bad, still running the farm with the son I now had.

And if I had known then what I found later on,

I’d have left all the work to my son; I’d have given it all to my son.

 

My name is Fred Wilson, a husband and son, a lowly foot-soldier, just fodder for guns.

I wasn’t a hero, just answered the call, and prayed I’d live to get home to you all.

Yes my name is Fred Wilson, soldier 6919, enlisted and served on the Western frontline.

I was just twenty-three, the oldest of ten; I thought it my duty to volunteer then.

            But if I had known then what I found later on,

            I wonder if I would have gone…. I still wonder if I would have gone.

 

© Ed Robins 2009/2015

 

PS: There is an amazing/horrifying tribute that Peter Jackson, of the “Lord of the Rings” fame has put together using remastered archival footage from World War I which is available on Netflix called “They Shall Not Grow Old”. This is very raw but it not only shows the horror of war but the attitude of some of the Soldiers.

You can also see trailers on You Tube

https://www.google.com/search?q=youtube+peter+jackson+ww1&oq=you+tube+peter+jackson&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l7.13685j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8