The Orange Lilly "O"

The Orange Lilly "O"

Thursday, 18 September 2014

In Memory of Ulster’s Heroes (Poem written in a Dugout after the battle)

A contemporary poem written in a dugout after the Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916

Come all you noted warriors, where ever that you be
And give your kind attention and listen unto me 
While I relate the Glorious Charge, with honour I will try
It was done by Ulster’s Loyal Sons, on the first day of July

2/ The shot and shell, screamed o’er the dell, the woodland rang with sound
With courage strong, they did march on, across the blood stained ground
Where foemen lay in thousands, awaiting the attack
Concealed from view in dug-out deep, their treacherous plans they wrought

3/ Twas on the 24th of June, our guns commenced to play,
For six long days and nights they boomed, in Battles wild array
Our men stood out like lions stout, their thoughts they raised on high
To cheer them on to Victory, "NO SURRENDER!" was their cry

4/ Two Brigades they took the front, it a glorious sight
Reinforced by the Brigade of Belfast Boys, whose courage well was tried
They got the signal to advance, they willingly obeyed
The Huns they tried to stop them, but they were soon dismayed

5/ But on they charged though many fell, until they reached their goal
They gave the Huns to understand, there was a marrow in their bone
They made them cry for mercy and also rue the day
They tried to conquer Europe, and make old Britain slaves

6/ The best troops of their army, from Verdun they were drawn
To hold the line at any cost, against our wall of steel
But Oh alas they were deceived, when we did on them fall
And took six hundred prisoners, and nobly held the field

7/ The battle being over, next day was fair and bright
We got relieved by comrades, who with us did unite
To raise our hearts to God above, who brought us through the fray
To hoist the flag of freedom, whose honour lasts for age

8/ Our General did address us, and unto us did say
I’m proud of you my Ulster Boys, you have nobly won the day
Your names in history will be read, by ages yet unborn
Of  the deeds you’ve done and victory won, on July the 1st Amen

9/ And now the end these simple lines, that I have now penned down
Do not mourn for Heroes gone, who answered duty’s call
Drink to their Glorious memory and pride in what they have done
On the banks of the River Ancre, in the Valley of the Somme

Written and Composed In the  Harrier ‘s dugout Sgt S McCrum ? 19086 Sgt WT McKnight  504 Sgt J.S. Sterrit The remnants of “D” Coy. 13th Batt. Royal Irish Rifles

 The copy of the document I saw containing this poem was in several places illegible so I placed ? at those parts I am not certain about.
A copy of Sgt. McKnights original hand written manuscript can be viewed or downloded by clicking this link
Colour Sergeant William Thomas McKnight of Newry Street Kilkeel Co Down whose items were the source for this poem was killed a year after the Battle of the Somme  at Passchendaele on 16 August 1917, aged 36 and has no known grave. He was a member of Aughnahoory Heroes LOL no 343B & also Royal Black Preceptory Elijahs Chosen Few 208 both still active in his home town of Kilkeel Co Down in Ulster.

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