The YD Cemetery

Temporary American Cemetery, France 1918

 

The peasant children pass it as they leave the village school,

The pious strangers cross themselves along the road to Toul,

The captains call attention as the dusty troops plod by,

The officers salute it though receiving no reply;

‘Tis a spot all brown and barren ‘mid the poppies in the grain—

The Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

 

A row of wooden crosses and beneath the upturned sod

The hearts once wild and restless now know the peace of God.

The brave young lads who left us while life was at its flood,

While life was fresh and joyous and fire was in the blood,

Their young lives now enfranchised from mirth or joy or pain,

They sleep the sleep eternal by a roadside in Lorraine.

 

Of all the myriad places for the dead of man to rest,

The graveyard of the warrior for a freeman is the best;

Oh! Not for them our pity, but far across the foam

For the gray-haired mother weeping in some New England home,

‘Tis she who has our pity, ‘tis she who feels the pain

Of  the Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

 

The plodding columns pass them along the old Toul road;

New companies come marching where yesterday they strode;

Above, the whirr of motors—beyond, the roar of guns,

Where their allies and their brothers join battle with the Huns.

And the sunlight of their glory bursts through the clouds and rain,

O’er the Y-D cemetery by a roadside in Lorraine.

—Col. Harry B. Anderson, 26th Div. Judge Advocate

Somewhere in France

SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE

I

A soldier boy lay dying,

On a road “somewhere in France;”

He had tried to get thru a barrage

Tho he knew he stood no chance.

A pal knelt down beside him

While the tears ran down his cheek

For this soldier was his life long friend

And he longed to hear him speak.

II

When the dying soldier opened

Up his eyes, and looked around

And saw his dear old pal

Kneeling side him on the ground

He smiled and said “They got me Jim

Yes got me with a shell.”

“My orders were to take this note

Thru water, fire and hell.”

III

“Take this message Jim and run it thru

Do not stop for me

It means two hundred lives and more

Its for our company

Fritz made a fake attack this morn

Just at break ‘o day

If you can only get it thru

We’ll make those dam Huns pay.”

IV

“And when you get around to it

Just write a line or two,

To my mother and my sweetheart Jim

Old pal so good and true;

Tell them I tried to make it

Thru gas, barrage, and shell

That my resting place is heaven

For I went clear thru a hell.”

V

Then the dying soldier closed his eyes

His pal with tender care,

Gently laid him down

And smoothed his bloody ruffled hair,

And with a sob of anguish

He started down the road,

In his hand he held the message

That was written out in code.

VI

Jim got the message thru in time

To call the German’s bluff,

He told the story to the boys

How the blood got on his cuff,

The dying words of Bill his pal

A runner dead and gone

And the company paid their last respects

To the brave but silent form.

(Wrote at Apremont at the conclusion of a dream)

—Batt. Runner Blanchard, Co. F 103rd Inf.

 

Many thanks to http://portraitsofwar.wordpress.com/ for sharing this rare find written by Pvt. C.R. Blanchard of the 103rd Hdq. Co. Signal Platoon while assigned to Co. F at Apremont in the Toul Sector. Please visit PortraitsofWar for many other fine examples of vintage military photography and interpretation.

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