Alfred Mills 

10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers
(City of London Regiment) the 'Stockbrokers'
 and The Royal Engineers

Great War Diary 1914-1918


 

In September 1917, Alfred found himself in the thick of the 3rd Battle of Ypres. Serving in the Front Line, east of St Eloi. He was shelled, shot at, and gassed. Soaked through on most days, knee deep in water and mud.

Hell on earth and no escape. During the incessant shelling, Alfred composed stories and poems to try and shut out the deafening noise and personal discomfort. One such poem is reproduced below.

 

A soldier lies dying of his wounds. Half submerged in watery mud in a shell-hole, blinded and immobile. He knows any hope of being rescued is slim. Around him the battle is raging, cries of anguish and pain echo amidst the shell explosions. Machine guns rattle and bullets zip the air......

Through it all, he hears the voice of his sweetheart, softly calling to him.

The Voice

 

Do not worry, my love is sanctioned,

I know you’re alone and frightened,

The dark is close as to touching,

The fear you feel is overpowering,

I’ll always be there to hold your hand,

Just close your eyes and breathe my name.

 

Do not worry, my love is spoken,

Hope has gone and your body is broken,

The cold mud you lie in, is your final bed,

Your eyes can’t see the hell around you, instead,

I’ll always be there to hold your hand,

Just close your eyes and breathe my name.

 

Do not worry, my love is life’s purpose,

You can hear the noise of battle, so close,

Above it, the gentle sway of my refrain,

Peace is waiting with a release from pain,

I’ll always be there to hold your hand,

Just close your eyes and breathe my name.

 

Do not worry, my love is true,

Your soul is departing the hell around you,

All that’ll be left is a cross with your name,

Your memory like a burning flame,

I’ll always be there to hold your hand,

Just close your eyes and breathe my name.

 

Do not worry, my love for you will grow,

In time to come, the beauty will return, so

Poppies will spring from where you lie, cascading

In a joyous memory of our time together, flowering,

I’ll always be there to hold your hand,

Just close your eyes and breathe my name.

 

Alfred Mills (STK 759) Sept 1917