Poem for Captain James Brown

James Brown was the Headmaster of Auchinraith School, who sadly lost his life fighting in WW1. Captain of the 6th Scottish Rifles, much was written of his, especially after it became known he rallied on the rest of his Blantyre soldiers, onwards, just before being hit.

In 1915, William Park, one of the Blantyre soldiers wrote this poem of his brave Captain:

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

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

But our Captain led on, with his six foot of grit,
Towerin high over 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 over the din,
Shoutin, “Blantyre , you’re wanted right here!”
An’ a warm tingling glow,
Seemed to grip us an’ flow
Where we all felt a strange hauntin fear.

An’ leading us still, with his bright flashin’ blade,
Kept a-pointin 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 Captain could well,
have retired from that shell ridden zone.
But his colour was white,
An he deemed he’d the right,
To lean on his comrades alone.

Our Captain has passed, 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.

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

Margaret Mary OSullivanSo heartbreaking what the men on both sides went through.🥲 The wives, girlfriends, Mothers, Fathers and children faced such anguish too
Archie PeatInspiring and sad !! My Grandfather won the Military Medal in that battle with the 6th Cams but what kind of Army requires its leaders to charge machine guns with a sword !!!!!!!!
Margaret DuncanSo sad and so brave – my grandfather also won the military medal for going into no-man’s land and retrieving a wounded comrade – my grandfather was John Joseph Donohoe.
Higgins MartinA fantastic piece of poetry about such a sad and terrible death….. and without wishing to be blase about the death of this heroic man, it ultimately sums up much of the futility of that war and war in general….. swords v guns.
Gary MorrisonHi – Can u confirm if James Brown stayed at 124 Craig Street which was known as the Headmasters house and was opposite the school?

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