The "Pals", on the marsh the night before
had promised to come back
To reminisce and drink the health
of their colleagues, dressed in black.
The brigade had numbered forty souls
a community at arms.
They had left their wives and loved ones
their families, their farms.
Right from the start the soldiers knew
the battle plan was flawed
as well-fed brass, in ivory towers
moved pictures 'round the board
Knowing best, the top brass said
"Moral victory's at hand".
Then without debate they sealed their fate
and issued the command.
The men, calf-deep in blood-tinged mud
crouched 'till the whistle blew.
Bittersweet tones through the battle din
spurred on the gallant crew.
It took twenty-three minutes for the unseen guns
to slay the village brigade.
The "Five-nines" left hollow memorials
for the bodies, where they lay.
From time to time in Appledore
and towards the Saxon Shore
the brigade "it's said" can be heard again
heading off to war
Some have seen them and some have heard
the message that they give
“Our deaths have bought the freedom
that allows good men to live”.
Do not mourn our passing
but remember and be glad
and think of what you can achieve
not what you may have had.