A FORMER Mayor of Stourport has written a poem to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Gary Talbot, 52, was inspired to put pen to paper by the story of his great-grandfather, who was awarded the 1914 Star for serving in France and Belgium before he died aged 23 at the Battle of Passchendaele.
Mr Talbot, who has lived in Stourport for most of his life, said: “I hope people think my poem is a fitting tribute to the men who gave their lives because we do owe them something.
“They fought for our freedom and I especially wanted to honour the 135 known men from Stourport who were killed in the fighting.”
The postman, who has formerly been a standard bearer for the Royal British Legion, added that the piece came together quite quickly after he decided to “seize the unique opportunity” to pay his respects.
The full poem is published below:
One hundred years ago today,
The war to end all wars began,
"Come on now boys,let's join the fray,
Ere Christmas comes it will be done".
For King and country, Empire too,
They took the shilling eagerly,
With not a thought of derring-do,
Or medals won for gallantry.
And then the Pals Battalions formed,
With men from every walk of life,
"We'll stick it out right to the end,
No matter what the strain or strife".
And so they trained, they marched they drilled,
They spat and polished endlessly,
And on the range they became skilled,
With their trusty friend the three oh three.
"Your training's done, you're ready now",
The Sergeant told them on parade,
"I know you'll make me proud of you,
And do your duty unafraid".
The Western Front was Hell on earth,
A killing ground without compare,
Where millions did prove their worth,
With deeds of valour, dash and dare.
The Pals were cut down on the Somme,
On 1st July nineteen sixteen,
The cream of British manhood gone,
In just one day, oh,how obscene.
I do not have the time to tell,
So many things of that Great War,
But please believe me, mark me well,
It was for us they gave their all.
The Memorial to the Great War,
Is there for you to pause in thought,
And make your pledge in silent awe,
That their names doth live forever more.