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The bloodcurdling swirl of bagpipes boosted the morale for men of the Scottish regiments, and intimidated the enemy during World War One.
Unarmed, drawing attention to himself the piper would lead the men ‘over the top’ of the trenches and into battle. Over 1000 pipers died.
Up and out of the trench he goes
The regiment’s piper with only his bagpipes
Standing exposed he plays
Walking along the top of the trench.
Soldiers hear the swirl of the pipes
See their piper facing enemy fire alone
Rise up and swarm from the trench
Following the piper over no-man’s land.
Over shell craters and through barbwire
With German machine guns raking the lines
And While still hearing the swirl of pipes
Many fall in valour never to rise again.

Going over the top in World War One was when soldiers climbed from their trench to attack enemy trenches.
At the battle of the Somme a British general ordered his men to walk towards the German trenches and not run.
“ We don’t want the enemy to think we British are cowards.” Thousands died because of his command.
                Birds no longer sing 
                Where young men cower in trenches
                Rifle and bayonet fixed
                Wondering if they will live or die
                Wanting the comfort of a mother’s kiss.
                 Officers blows whistles
                 And the brigade climb out of trenches
                 Walking over shell craters and through barbwire
                 On towards waiting machine gunners
                 Surmounting terrors that make men mad.
                 There is no sound
                 But beating of each soldier’s heart
                 As he steps forward into hell
                 Trying to control his fears and panic
                 Thinking of his loved ones back home.
                 Machine gunners open up
                 With chatter of bullets raking the ranks
                 Noise is deafening, screams as men are hit and fall
                 With wounded struggling in the mud
                 And for the dead grieving mothers to mourn. 
At the outbreak of World War One horses were used as cavalry,
but because of trenches, barbed wire and machine guns they were used for pulling guns, carrying ammunition and transport.
Over 8 million horses died on all sides. British horses that survived the war were sold off as cheap meat to Belgium butchers. 
          Shrill neighing of horses
          Screams out terror on the battlefield
          Harnessed to the big gun
          Eyes wide with fright
          Whipped on through dragging mud.
          Proud animals with spirits broken
          Treated as beasts of burden
          Moving ammunition, guns and shells
          Used abused without compassion
          Supplying the trenches of hell.
          There was no respite or mercy
          Slaughtered by enemy fire
          Dreaming of lush green fields of home
          Cantering free and joyful
          Without terror of Man’s war.

During the battle of the Somme, France, 1916, the British sustained 60,000 casualties on the first day.
Torrential rains turned the battlefield into a quagmire.
In one month the Allies advanced five miles at the cost of 450,000 Germans.
200,000 French and 420,000 British lives. I lost two uncles.
           Blood red poppies sway
           Over silent fields
           Where birds no longer sing.
           Once big guns roared
           And young men
           Suffered terror in the mud.
           Chaplains searched the carnage for God
           Finding him gassed and bloody
           Crucified upon the wire
           One poppy lost among the thousands.