Colin F. Jones


“from the sea to the middle of the battle map”
The convoys of cars uncoiled like a snake,
Lorries laden with soldiers and nurses,
Some overloaded and lacking a brake.
The fluttering flag of an army commander,
With imperious Klaxon showing the way,
As his “tourist car” finer and grander,
Drove up from Lillie to the far battle fray.
A string of busses; a light R.A.F. Tender,
Coughing engines and tanks by the road,
A shattered lorry a burnt out body and fender,
With a lost scattered and pulverized load.
A light train with ammunition and food,
Its engine puffing and struggling along,
Carter Patterson Carriers and Red Cross cars,
Carting the wounded back over the holes,
Where the shells had blasted the roadway,
Where the engineers were working like moles.
In the distance a spotter balloon floated,
A scout plane whizzed overhead,
“Celeste’s natty little millinery van”
Carted ammunition then returned with the dead.
Bags of cement and rolls of barbed wire,
Shells and munitions of every kind
Were carried by the convoys of lorries,
Leaving nothing of value behind.
There were portable cinema lorries,
Concert lorries with dynamos for light,
With scenery pieces and follies,
For the performers to do as they might.
Dental hospitals replaced the horse ambulance,
Allowing the surgeons to better their skill,
And staff cars delivered their officers,
That their duties they could fulfil.
Since then car manufacture for sure,
Have gradually over time increased.
Cars not only helped to win the Great War,
They helped to begin the peace

Author’s Note: In Belgium and France where my Father was a vehicle mechanic and driver in WWII, and my Grandfather was an Artillery Gunner in WWI: Just a thing on cars.