War poetry from people on the home front

World War One, Crawley SUS-140807-162907001
World War One, Crawley SUS-140807-162907001

World War One gave the world some of the most poignant, intense and moving poetry ever written.

Not all of it flowed from the pens of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, Crawley produced one or two of its own.

The following was written by FH Perks, of 21 Victoria Road, Crawley, and was published in the Sussex and Surrey Courier in August 1914, when the men of the town were being called on to do their bit for King and Country.

Called ‘Our Gallant Volunteers’ it read:

Shout,”Hurrah” for Britain’s sons,

Who, at their country’s call,

Have bravely rallied round the flag

To conquer or to fall.

Willing hands from many lands,

From peasants up to Peers,

Are side by side to stem the tide,

Our Gallant Volunteers.

When Britain’s fame was tottering,

Some sixty years ago.

There rose a host to guard our coast,

And lulled the nation’s woes.

Our aged sires may sleep secure,

Our mothers cease their tears,

While in the land there is a band

Of Gallant Volunteers.

How proud must be our gracious King,

To know what ‘ere may come.

That he may slumber peacefully,

Within his island home.

Their hearts of purest loyalty.

Watch o’er his nation’s cares;

“Defence, and not defiance,” cry

Our Gallant Volunteers.

Long life to George our gracious King,

And to that noble band,

Who’d bravely come from every home,

To guard their native land.

And as they march, at duty call,

We’ll greet them with three cheers.

And thank in style the rank and file,

Our Gallant Volunteers.