THE BLUE PUTTEES

The fighting at Beaumont-Hamel
Came to a standstill,
The Blue Puttees were in their trenches
A place that they called "HELL!"

Down their in the muddy trenches
With rats they shared their home,
They were trapped in their shell-hole
The enemy had to be overthrown.

Advancement had been slow
They only gained a few miles a day,
How long it will take to win this war
No man can say.

As part of the 88th Brigade in the 29th British Division
The first Newfoundland Regiment were assigned,
A role with the second attacking wave
To take the third enemy line.

It was Saturday, July the first, 1916.
It would be a tragic day,
It was the beginning of the Battle of the Somme
And hundreds of Newfounfdlanders with their lives would pay.

Beginning soon after midnight
Out of the trenches the Regiment climbed,
But the Germans, they were waiting
They were alerted by an exploding mine.

The forward trenches were blocked with bodies
The advance of the Essex Regiment was delayed,
The Newfoundlanders were forced to cross
The exposed front where barbed wire had been laid.

30 kilograms of equipment
They carried upon their backs,
They marched slowly, wave upon wave
With bayonets held high, they attacked.

Just up ahead the Germans were waiting
With their trigger-happy guns,
For the Blue Puttees to charge them
So they could kill our Newfoundland sons.

Few made it to the beginning
Of the Allied barbed wire,
Just 230 meters from the starting point
The Germans opened fired.

The Blue Puttees had to follow the lanes
Between precut, highted openings in the wire,
That were well covered by the enemy
With machine gun fire.

The equipment, it was heavy
The mud, it was deep;
The Germans with their deadly fire
Slaughtered the Blue Puttees like sheep.

The unwounded survivors crawled back to their trenches
While the stretcher bearers searched the bloody ground,
For the soldiers that were wounded
But mostly bodies of the dead could be found!

A wounded Newfoundlander crawled through the mud
With his hand, he held his stomach in,
His hand was full of guts and blood
But to death, he would not give in!

After the slaughter was over
68 Newfoundlanders answered the roll call,
From the Regiment of 800
732 fighting Newfoundlanders did fall!

Back home in Newfoundland
The tragic news was received,
About the bloodly slaughter
Of the Blue Puttees!

The people were in shock
And total disbelief,
How could such a thing happen?
Their hearts were filled with grief.

When the soldiers returned home
And touched the Newfoundland ground,
From all the people gathered there
No dry eyes could be found!

By: Yvonne Legge
Copyright 1999 Yvonne Legge

My War Poetry

Email: yvonnelegge@angelfire.com