A handwritten poem describing the taking of Mametz.
Transcript of poem:
The taking of Mametz Woods on July 10th 1916
You wonder why I’m grey headed?
Grey headed at forty five
Well marvel not at all Sir
It’s a wonder that I am alive
After all that happened that day friend,
Ah Sir! When I see it again
As I sometimes do in my dreams
I’ts enough to turn ones brains
Nigh five thousand fine fellows in all Sir
Caught, like a Rat in a snare
Would you like to hear the story?
Alright if you the time can share
We were only a simple Division
That answered the call from all Wales
We are not thought a great deal of in England
Until over the water we sails
We are always classed rough by the Gentry
Most men are worth that down a mine
The French once looked down upon us
But soon for our help they did pine.
T’was not long we stopped down the suburbs.
But to a camp we soon went
First for a course of Instructions
Four solid hard days we there spent.
Very well! I’ll get on with my story,
It would be about the middle of June
When we left the North for the South Sir,
Just to give old Fritzy a tune
We came out of the trenches at daybreak
After six weary months in the line
We had dribbled away one by one Sir!
And were far from full strength at the time
We were told we were going for a rest Sir
After spending the Winter in France
And it was a hard one I tell you
But we heard we had to Advance.
We marched from North to South Sir
Not a mile did we ride on the way
It took us quite six solid weeks
To help in the Big Push away
Twas not long before we were in action
The Welsh division at last
Had a chance to show what they were made of
In one of the hardest tasks
We were over the top in a jiffy
And met them like all soldier should
That’s how Sir the Welsh Division
Started to take the Woods.
We fought night @ day to the end, Sir
And we kept the Germans at bay.
Not a German was left within sight Sir
Twas awfull to stick in the Dim.
It lasted forty eight hours
“Not so long”? Did I hear you say?
But 6h Sir”, what we endured
In that most awful fray.
All we had was a biscuit to fight on
No water anywhere to be found
My comrades were dropping like rabbits
Twas dreadful to be Gaying around
They sent everything they had at us
But in spite our fellows kept on
Until only we were a handfull
And most of our leaders had gone
Our Boys they stuck it like Britons,
Through the terrible shrapnel, shot @ shell
Until we had gained what we Wanted
We fought all bravely @ well.
But at last; come welcome daybreak
A pity full sight to see,
What was left of the Welsh Division
Not half that came over the Sea.
We took it at a terrible cost Sir
The Wonderfull Woods of Mametz
Every man that went down was a soldier Sound
And deserve what a Soldier gets
And now a word for the Survivors
You would think we were entitled to rest?
But we all are still in the War Sir
Fighting that strange German pest
In a well known place called Ypres
Again we are holding the line,
In one of the saddest places
Where over the sun did shine
So now I have finished my story
Give credit @ honour where due
To the 38th Division Welsh
Once collier, now Soldier (true?)
So if the War was finished tomorrow
And all back to England were sent
You would hear about the wonderfull Victory
Where the Welsh Division were sent
By Tom Parton who fell in France in 1917