Face to the Foe (Snippets 20)


A recruiting poster for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, from 1914.

Ernest Craigie Melville was a Lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the First World War.  While he was serving, he wrote a book of Poems from the Trenches, which was published in 1918.  He was born in 1887, so at the time he was writing his poems he was about 30 years old.  The following poem is from that volume:

A Tribute

Somewhere in France he fell,
Him, whom we loved so well.
Just how we cannot tell,
But this I know —
‘Twas with a dauntless eye,
Fearless and head held high
In the way all heroes die,
Face to the foe.

Never himself he spared.
But with his men he dared.
All of their dangers shared.
Leader and friend ;
Unselfish, kind and brave.
For others his life he gave.
Now in a soldier’s grave.
Sleeps at the end.

Not his to funk or crawl,
When came his country’s call.
Gladly he gave his all,
Welcomed the chance.
Treasured his memory
All through the years shall be.
Ah, but the heart of me,
Lies somewhere in France.

Melville survived the war, and moved to the USA in the 1920s.  In 1942, at the age of 55, he registered for the Fourth Registration, colloquially known as the “Old Man’s Draft”, which required all men between the ages of 45 and 64 to fill out a questionnaire to assess whether their skills could be of use to the war effort (as labour, not troops), and there the trail goes cold…

About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on junkyard.blog. Author of windowsintohistory.wordpress.com. Editor of frontiersmenhistorian.info
This entry was posted in 20th Century, First World War, History, Snippets and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Face to the Foe (Snippets 20)

  1. That picture is set against a background of Edinburgh castle – I was there just last week!


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