Private John Scott
‘Twas easy enough at Gezancourt – thirty kilometres from the line –
To bray the enemy from the Somme and drive him back to the Rhine.
For there with the line of our advance mapped out on the level ground,
Day after day, “D” Company was reg’larly mucked around
“Over there’s supposed to be Gommecourt (them trees with the feathery tops).
Yonder’s Serre Wood, and over here our objective-Pendant Copse!”
And every day we signallers on Pendant Copse would stand,
Signalling back to GHQ “Objectives gained as planned!”
But “D” Company knew they had something on – them and 18th West Yorks –
When the big push started on the Somme to give old Fritz the works.
Aye, every night, and all night long, while the regiment lay at Courcelles,
Lorries in convoy came rolling through bringing up loads of shells
Through that dark village street with clanking of chains over the bumpy ground
Where in billets we’re snatching uneasy sleep, with the rats a-scuttling around!
Then a night or two before the attack (in Bus Woods then we stayed)
Some of us met behind our shack and under the trees we prayed!
Back home they said ‘twas a righteous cause! That King and Country claimed;
And we, who took it seriously, were scarcely to be blamed.
Don’t ask me what we prayed about; since then I’ve often prayed;
“No, not for safety Lord, but help me not to be afraid!”
So we take the road for Colincamps one night as the sun goes down.
Scouting “Taubes” fly overhead – the warning whistle’s blown!
Hedges afford scant cover, where we crouch with anxious eye,
Convinced that not a move escapes that watcher in the sky!
Darkness! From earth and sandbags comes the now familiar stench,
As we grope and stumble down the long communication trench.
Then it’s “Pass the word to mind the wire!” “Loose board here!” “Lift your feet!”
And it’s “Watch your step!” (on them coggly stones going down Sackville Street)
Now scrambling over awkward spots where the trench has been smashed in.
With a shudder, at what might come to ‘us’ before the day begin.
©Copyright by Private John Scott – Date Unknown