A week is a long, long time in war

Where do you sleep to-night, my lad? is a poem written by William Arthur Dunkerley, aka John Oxenham. It spoke profoundly to those bereaved at home, and was published (without credit) in the Winkfield District Magazine, omitting the folliwng verse: (originally lines 11-15):

“Oh, a week is long when so little’s enough
To send a man below.
It may be that while we named your name
The bullet sped and the quick end came,–
And the rest we shall never know.”

THE WAR.-

We mourn for several more of our Ascot lads, who have given their lives for their country.

Kenneth Grant, one of our Altar Servers, a former member of the Parish Catechism, and the best boy of his year in the Ascot Boys’ School, was shot dead in his first engagement with the enemy. R.I.P.

Alfred Thompson, whose influence for good in the Parish was great, has followed his brother, at no long interval, into the Eternal Home. He died of his wounds. R.I.P.

William Bissley, a devout Churchman of the best type, and a former Assistant Master of the Ascot Boys’ School, has also laid down his life. R.I.P.

George Morton, brother of Arthur Morton, our Choirman, has been killed. R.I.P.

To all who are sorrowing for the temporary loss of their dear ones, we offer our heartfelt sympathy. We shall all be together again when the Day breaks and the shadows flee away.

“Where are you sleeping to-night My Lad?
Above ground or below?
The last we heard you were up at the Front,
Holding a trench, and bearing the brunt;
But that was a week ago.

Ay! That was a week ago, Dear Lad,
And a week is a long, long time,
When a second’s enough in the thick of strife
To sever the threads of the bravest life
And end it in its prime.

But this we know Dear Lad, all’s well
With the man who has done his best,
And whether he live or whether he die,
He is sacred high in our memory:
And to God we can leave the rest.

So – wherever you’re sleeping to-night, dear lad,
This one thing, we do know-
When ‘Last Post’ sounds, and He makes His rounds,
Not one of you all will be out of bounds,
Above ground or below.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, October 1916 (D/P151/28A/8/10)

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