Our Captain

1917 Scottish Rifles during WW1 (Picture courtesy of Imperial War museum. Not for commercial use)

1917 Scottish Rifles during WW1 (Picture courtesy of Imperial War museum. Not for commercial use)

Thank you to Wilma Bolton who gave me this nice poem. Written by William Park of Blantyre in 1915. James Brown was a former Pre WW1 headmaster of Auchinraith Primary School and Captain of 6th Scottish Rifles. (Cameronians based in Muir Hall, Hamilton). James, who was in F company, sadly received his fatal wound cheering on his Company of Blantyre lads. The picture accompanying this article is of the Scottish Rifles charging during 1917.

” Our Captain”, by William Park.

Into the vale of the shadow of death,
Rushed our Capt’in a-wavin’ his sword,
While the cruel burstin’ shell
Flew like demons from hell
Oh God! how they screamed an’ they roared.

And the rickety-rip of that hellish machine,
That gun with the death dealin’ spit,
Kept a-markin’ good time,
As a curse from our line,
Told another poor lad had been hit.

But our Capt’in led on with his six foot of grit,
Towerin’ high o’er his comrades in arms,
And that tall soldier form,
‘Gainst the Huns leaden storm,
Stood defying their wildest alarms.

And his clear ringin’ voice could be heard o’er the din
Shoutin’ “Blantyre you’re wanted right here,”
An’ a warm tinglin’ glow
Seemed to grip us an’ flow
Where we all felt a strange hauntin’ fear.

And leadin’ us still while his bright flashin’ blade
Kept appointin’ the way we should go,
He received in his breast
Fatal message of rest,
And he fell with his face to the foe.

Twice wounded before, our brave Capt’in could well
Have retired from that shell-ridden zone,
But his colour was white
An’ he deemed he’d the right
To lead on his comrades alone.

Our Capt’in has pass’d, but the memory will live
Evergreen, as the grass o’er his head,
How he led us lads on
Till his last breath was gone,
An’ he lay like a warrior-dead.

Wm. Park, Blantyre
Ref. Hamilton Advertiser10/7/1915 Page 3

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  1. Edward Daly McLernon

    Thanks for the William Park item. Memories of the Blantyre Gazette stories!
    Is the Gazette archived somewhere??

    Michael Daley, elder brother of Edward Daly CBE was also killed that day.
    A pointer to information on that day’s events would be appreciated.*****
    Michael left a widow and two children, Michael and Mary. Mary was so similar in looks to Edward’s daughter – my mother, Mary – that as a toddler I sometimes ran to her calling ‘Mammy’.
    Michael’s body was eventually exhumed and re-buried at Festubert near the battle ground.
    Michael had enlisted in 1914 (local unit perhaps?) but was soon returned unfit due to hernia problems. Somehow/somewhere he re-enlisted.
    Michael’s father survived the infamous Blantyre explosion with his son, James (Fallance or Fallins, his mother’s maiden name) but died two years later in a rock fall at Udston and I think James was beside him that day too (??)

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