Epitaph in a bottle on soldier's grave


This epitaph was found in a bottle on the grave of Pte G. Brewer, 14194, Beds Regiment on July 21st, 1915.

A copy was sent to Mrs Everitt, of 7 Clarendon Road, Luton, by Pte A. Blaze, 2276, D Coy, 1/5th North Stafford Regt, who says: "We are in the trenches for a spell, and there are a fine lot of Bedfords buried here. We found a piece of poetry in a bottle on one of the graves, and I am sending you a copy."

Headed "In Memory of a Soldier of Christ" it read:

A crescent moon - enough to shed

Upon this field where lie our dead,

A shimmering, ghostly light to show

Where Britain's heroes met their fate.

What need to tell of clash and din?

Of the deadly bayonet driven in?

The Shrieks and cries of those in pain?

Of men becoming Beast again?

To see men fight, and writhing die.

And describe like Zola - I'll not try.

But when all's over I could say,

"The best of manhood died today!"

Ye British wives and daughters, too,

Hold high your heads. it was for you

Those heroes made their last advance,

To find a grave "somewhere in France".

By a Comrade, A.S.

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 31st, 1915]

Footnote: 14194 Pte George Brewer, aged 35, 1st Battalion Beds Regt, was killed in action near Hill 60 on May 25th, 1915. He was the son of James Brewer, of Church Hanborough, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. [Commonwealth War Graves Commission]