Pals (In Memoriam)

Ian R Thorpe By Ian R Thorpe, 29th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

A tribute to The Accrington Pals who fell at The Somme on July 1st, 1916. A historical note follows the poem as it is a bit too long for this section.

Pals (In Memoriam)

Picture, The Accrington Pals, reproduced by permission of Howarth Art Gallery, Accrington.

Hear Ian reading Pals (web quality recording I should redo it now better quality is available - )

They came from factory, mill and mine,
from office desk and workshop bench,
were taught to shoot and march in line,
sent to defend a mud - filled trench
leaving behind sweethearts and wives,
children they would not see grow,
commanded by a voice that drives
beyond good sense to bravado.

Singing the patriotic song
they marched towards the greedy guns,
in raging minutes they were gone.
Such senseless slaughter always numbs
emotions ~ that let us grieve the loss
of a favourite horse or dog.
We never learn to count the cost
of old men’s wars in young men’s blood.

HISTORICAL NOTE: The "pals" regiments of WW1 were recruited from within small areas thus many of them had known each other since childhood. In an example of military arrogance unsurpassed either before or since, the mayor of Accrington, a former captain in the British Army pledged that he would recruit a complete regiment from the town. The "Accrington Pals," young conscripts from the same small industrial town were assigned to serve in the same battalion of the East Lancashire regiment and on July 1, 1916 were sent "over the top," charging towards German gun emplacements. In a few minutes an entire generation of the town’s male population was virtually wiped out. A young man who would have been my wife's great uncle died with the regiment. My paternal grandmother's younger brother died a few weeks later when another pals regiment went "over the top".


Army, History, Military, Pals, Poem, Poetry, Regiment, War, Ww1

Meet the author

author avatar Ian R Thorpe
Born Manchester UK, 1948. varied early career from clerk via construction site worker and street trader to I T consultant. Performance poet, broadcaster, fiction writer and essayist on many topics.

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author avatar Ptrikha
1st Jul 2014 (#)

World War I was a horrible time, and millions lost their lives. An Interesting saga from history about these guys from Accrington.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Jul 2014 (#)

Wow. Thanks.

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author avatar Retired
11th Sep 2014 (#)

I like your poem and the info on the Accrington Pals. Thanks for sharing.

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