King & Country Remembrance Concert
'For King & Country '
Saturday 2nd August 2014, a very special occasion when the Parochial Church Council presented a commemorative concert for the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Great War 1914.
Before a packed audience in the world famous 'Crusader Round' 1100AD the Northampton Concert Band and Northampton Male Voice Choir joined forces to present an evening of appropriate music and song interspersed with military readings. (these can be found at the end of this resume).
After all expenses have been deducted each of the chosen charities (Northampton Branch of The Royal British Legion and Combat Stress) will receive £836.48
The PCC is most grateful to all those involved in making the evening such a success.
1) 'The Last Post at the Menin Gate' read by former W.O.1 David Parish MBE on behalf of the British Army.
2) 'Taken By His Mistress' read by former Petty Officer Gordon W. Wood on behalf of the The Royal Navy.
3) 'Heroes All' read by former Corporal John Kightley MBE Royal Air Force Police on behalf of the Royal Flying Corps and The Royal Air Force.
4) 'There's no shame in the fact that we cried' read by Lt. Col. David Walsh on behalf of SSAFA Forces Help and that organisation's support to veterans and their dependants across all British Forces.
1-3-4 by kind permission of Jean M Bingham.
number 2 by kind permission of David Oram.
*no part of these readings may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission in writing of the authors, who can be contacted via John Kightley.(see details on web site).*
1) The Last Post at the Menin Gate
As we gathered beneath that huge Menin Gate,
At eight on a late summer’s day,
My thought turned to summers, so many years past,
And the soldiers who’d marched past that way.
For we’d come to remember those soldiers,
Who’d fought and given their all,
And we searched for the names of our loved ones
From the thousands carved there on that wall.
Then the firemen with bugles came forward,
So immaculate, yes, and so proud
To be carrying on the tradition,
Which silenced the now growing crowd.
Their sound echoed through that great archway,
And words so familiar were read,
As we stood and remembered those heroes,
And gazed up at the long lists of dead.
These men have no graves we can visit,
They are ‘missing’ and seldom are found.
They lie where they fell with their comrades
Scattered over that huge battleground.
The standards were lowered before us,
And wreaths of red poppies were laid
As there, in the silence we humbly recalled,
The brave sacrifice that they’d made.
3) Heroes All
To the skies above France these young pilots came,
Those aces of Flying Corps days,
To observe and report on what they could see,
When the Great War was in its first phase.
But soon they took part in the action,
Which below, on the ground, was so dire,
For machine guns were fitted in cock-pits
As they too, now came under fire.
With nothing but canvas to shield them,
And propellers rotating so fast,
They went on their missions so bravely,
Knowing each one could well be their last.
Back at base their conditions were better
They returned to good food and a bed
Whilst the lads in the trenches were knee deep in mud,
Rat-ridden, tired and ill-fed.
Yet they all had a singular mission,
In that war that was said to be Great,
When they fought off the foe in that foreign land,
And died at a frightening rate.
For some, their deeds won them medals,
The highest, Victoria’s Cross,
But the label of hero should go to them all,
For our country had suffered great loss.
We covered the scenes of their actions,
Paid respects at the graves where they lie.
We’ll remember their acts of great courage
These memories will surely not die.
4) There’s no shame in the fact that we cried.
Keep a stiff upper lip; we were trained from our youth,
We are British and that was the law!
But I defy anyone visiting France,
Not to weep at the sights that they saw.
For mile after mile there were sad fields of white,
The headstones of those who were slain.
So beautifully kept are these grounds where they rest,
Now all free from their hardship and pain.
The stories we’re told of our brave fighting lads
In that war that was said to GREAT.
Of their life in the trenches and mind-bending fears,
As they died at a terrible rate.
They brought lumps to the throat and tears to the eyes,
For we cannot imagine their plight
How would WE have survived in that hell-hole of mud?
Would WE have kept up ‘The Good Fight?’
On the morn of the first of July we were there,
At the crater they call Lochnagar,
To remember the lads who had died in that war,
And whose loved ones had mourned from afar.
The pipers, they played and the service was held,
Then the doves winged their way overhead,
And we scattered the poppies with tears in our eyes
To remember the brave and the dead.
I knew when we came on our mission,
For Peter and me there’d be tears,
For I’d brought him to find HIS brave soldier,
His family had mourned for, for years.
And we touched his name there at Thiepval,
With thousands of comrades besides,
And the tears, they welled up as we stood for a while,
There’s no shame in the fact that we cried.
At Trones Wood our feelings were deepened,
As he placed there a cross in the ground,
For the birdsong and sun’s rays that came through the trees,
Told us George now at last had been found.
2) Taken By His Mistress
He wanted to be a part so much
to sail the seven seas,
The sea itself coursed through his blood
It was where he felt at ease.
Although the sea was his mistress
He had a love within his heart
For a childhood sweetheart
To whom he swore he’d never part.
But to join The Royal Navy
To stand proud to want to be
The White Ensign flying high
For all the world to see.
He sailed that early morning
Swearing to his love that he’d return,
But war will take its victims
This the lesson learned.
But still he did for King and Country
Bravely answering the message
From his countries call
His ship was sunk, torpedoed
Off of a German bight
And he and hundreds like him
Were taken down that night.
Taken to a watery grave
Deep beneath the waves
Never to return again
Not one of them was saved.
His love now stands on a windy day
Stares longingly out to sea
She tastes the salt upon her lips
As she feels her love run free.
Her heart then races quickly
As the sea takes her lovers soul
and grief flows through her mind
For the love his mistress stole.
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