Blantyre Lads Farewell

When P McGurk and J Fraser, two Blantyre lads knew it was time to leave Lanarkshire and head off to Serbia in WW1, together they penned a beautiful poem for their families. It was later shared to the newspapers in 1916. This is the first time I’ve seen this, now transcribed as follows:

“Farewell to dear old Blantyre, that I may see more,
I go to serve my country and help to beat the Hun,
And though the fields Serbia may be sprinkled with my gore,
I do not fear the dying, if the victory is won.

Farewell, my angel mother, with hair like driven snow,
Take me in your arms and kiss me, on my lips and brow,
And pray another blessing on my head before I go,
But do not grieve for me, dear, you’re a soldier’s mother now.

Farewell, my old companions, with whom I’ve worked and played,
There are some of you should march with me, a cross or grave to find.
But ’tis in your own hearts only the decision must be made,
bear with me bitter thoughts for those who still are blind.

Farewell to you, my sweetheart, with eyes as blue as Heaven,
When the world lies bathed in beauty in the golden days of June.
Through the bloody fray your image sweet shall cheer me morn and even.
It breaks my heart to leave you, but, please God, I’ll come back soon.

And should Fate will it otherwise and I my life resign,
In battle for my country, upon a foreign shore,
I will meet you someday in that land among the saints divine,
Where the clang of war ne’er enters and there’s peace for evermore.
P, M‘G., J. F

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Anthony Smith Did they come back ?
Blantyre Project I’ll need to look into that more. However the surnames McGurk and Fraser are NOT on the Blantyre WW1 war memorial.
Betty McLean A very touching poem
Jessie Caldow Lovely poem, so very moving. How brave they were those lads. I hope they survived to return home safely.
Margaret Duncan Did they return?
John Watt Margaret Duncan having a wee look online the only. P. McGurk that was born in Blantyre between 1880 and 1914 were Patrick McGurk. One born in 1896, 1904, 1907 and 1914. So the 1896 person would be only one old enough to go to war. He was Patrick McKenna McGurk and he survived both wars dying in 1956 aged 60 in Lochgelly in Fife.. here is an extract of his birth and death certificates.
Blantyre Project John Thanks. I suspect both Patrick and J Fraser survived WW1. Their names are not on the memorial. Appreciate this detective work. It was a question i should have anticipated.
John Watt The J Fraser is a bit more elusive just now..
Nina Muir Wow! Great poem and interesting piece of history.

Leave a Reply