HELL ON THE WESTERN FRONT

The machine gun in the First World War
turned no-manís land into a slaughter house
which killed thousands. At the battle of the
Somme 10,000 British soldiers fell before the
Deadly machine guns . . . within minutes of
leaving the trenches.

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Chitter chatter, chitter chatter
Melody of the machine gunners
Spaying death into no-manís land
Cutting down solders
Like a harvester slicing through wheat.
Chitter chatter, chitter chatter
Nowhere to run and hide
Calling for mothers
Some dying alone in the mud
Others tangled upon the wire.


Gunners want to stop the dance of death
But the soldiers keep on coming
And with new belts of bullets ready
Hell has come to the Western Front.



COMRADES IN ARMS

During the First World War 1914-18,
the British raised many ĎFriends Brigadesí
from cities and towns. The brigades were made-up of men, friends from childhood or who had
worked together. The recruiting sergeants promising they would be home by Christmas.

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Our parents called us the jolly boys
Friends, we sang our songs of childhood
Played in woods and ran through golden cornfields.
We were country boys, bright stars of promise
Little Jimmy, Fred, Alfred and me.


We left school and worked on farms
Had girlfriends, planned for marriage and babies
Then came the countryís call to arms
And full of pride we answered
Four mates together for king and country.


Out in France and to the Somme
We marched heads high to the front
Thinking ourselves invincible
We lived in trenches ankle deep in mud
Infested with lice and scampering rats.


The order from the general came
For the Brigade to go over the top
And in terror we stood bayonets fixed
Waiting for our officerís whistle blast
Moist of eye we shook hands and said goodbye.


Whistles blew up and down the line
And we clambered up ladders into hell
There was chatter of German machine guns
Screams of wounded and the dying
The brigade fell like new mown hay.


The last post bugle call shivers the soul
As in neat rows they lie side by side
Brothers in arms of the Friends Brigade
And among them, Little Jimmy, Fred, Alfred and me.




GO TELL THE SERGEANT MAJOR
(Soldierís lament, France World War One)

Go tell the sergeant major
Private Jones is dead
Shot in no manís land
Left hanging on the wire.


Go tell the sergeant major
The brigadeís no more
Machine-gunned in the open
Feet dragging in the mud.


Go tell the sergeant major
Parading raw recruits in England
Fresh fodder for the killing grounds
They need coffins when they come.



HOWL DOWN THE SCREAMING WIND

Howl down the screaming wind
Stem the gushing flow of innocent blood
Rescue all souls from the whirlpool's trap
Floundering lost amidst thunderous waves
Dashed and broken upon jagged rocks.


War mongers cries surge out of control
Silencing prayers for peace
Lies are told to quell the panic of war
With inmates running the asylum
Their madness giving birth to our destruction.



WILFRED OWEN
(1893-1918)

An Englishman and greatest British soldier poet of World War One. Served in
the trenches as a Lieutenant and was awarded the Military Cross. Hospitalized
with shell shock back to England in April 1917, and returned to the trenches
in October. On November 4th 1918, before sunrise, led his platoon to the West >
bank of the Sambre and Oise Canal. They came under German machine gunfire
and Owen was killed.
In Shrewsbury, England, the Armistice bells were ringing when his parents
front-door bell sounded heralding the telegram they had feared for two years.

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Young and joyful
Stirring his Muse to sing
Lilting songs of beauty and love
Enjoying afternoon teas on luxuriant lawns
Life was melodious
Rich, and full of promise.


Then came the call to arms
His Countryís need for soldiers
And he endured Hell in the trenches
Seeing things that broke the mind asunder
And with soul ripped and bleeding
He was returned home on sick leave.


Back again in the trenches
His Muse roared against the gore
As he penned the folly and madness of war.
The plight of boy soldiers dying in the mud
Sweetest flowers of a Nation destroyed.
Briefly his candle flame flickered brightly
Before the raging storm extinguished it.