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A book of World War I poems uncovered after 100 years

PUBLISHED: 10:33 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 12 November 2018

Alick Lewis Ellis penned poems about his experiences on the frontline

Alick Lewis Ellis penned poems about his experiences on the frontline

Field Dressings by Stretcher Bearer

Discovered by chance almost 100 years since it was written, the original ‘Field Dressings by Stretcher Bearer’ contains the poems of Terrington St Clement-born Alick Lewis Ellis.

Field Dressings By Stretcher Bearer poetry bookField Dressings By Stretcher Bearer poetry book

Peter Ellis was surprised to discover that his great uncle Alick Lewis Ellis had written a series of compelling poems about his first-hand experience of the horrors of battle as a stretcher bearer of the 2/3rd London Field Ambulance, 54th Division, London Regiment, The card bound book was discovered in a loft and handed in anonymously to the Herts at War project.

Alick lived a quiet life in a rented house in Bedford until his death in 1953. “I had no idea that a member of our family had done something of this note,” said Mr Ellis

“While many poems reflect the sadness and pain that comes from witnessing so much death and suffering, Alick’s work shows he remained full of admiration for his fellow soldiers.”


Victory

Bells were rung in many churches in honour of the Cambrai victory

There’s a winding line of stretchers each with its shattered load

Coming slowly from the trenches along a shell-marked road

Hear the groans & watch the blood flow, see the havoc of the shells

And this is called a victory for this they rung the bells

See the groups of walking wounded who progress as best they can

Limping, struggling slowly onward helped by the stronger man

With clothing torn & faces pained & blood their path to show

But let the bells ring loud & clear its victory you know

There are heaps of dead in the trenches & out in “no man’s land”

’Tis not for them a flowered grave tended by loving hand

There’ll be vacant chairs in many homes in England’s hills & dells

But still this is a victory for they have rung the bells

See this comrade of mine who has fallen he stood by my side at dawn

I have sewn his cold clay in a blanket fit coffin for grim waifair’s storm

And I think of a wife who is waiting & a babe who its father will miss

Yet the bells were rung in our churches for such a victory as this

O Christ of a thousand Churches God of a nation’s best

Look down & forgive the people & grant the fallen rest

Where flesh & blood now wrestle O grant the birds may sing

And peace be the greatest victory & then our bells shall ring.

Field Dressings by Stretcher Bearer be ordered from www.fielddressings.co.uk

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