War brought a regular flow of patriotic verse to the pages of the Shipley Times & ExpressSome of the most powerful came from men serving at the front and aimed at their contemporaries who stayed at home
In a letter home, dated 10 January 1915, Cpl George Yates wrote about the very rough weather he and his men were experiencing in France but added that he had plenty of warm clothes. He asked to be sent some ‘eatables and a few cigarettes.’He included a poem he had written during a brief respite from the firing line:Our place of abode is a place of rest,Though behind the guns we are fully dressed.Fully united, four countries in one,The Kaiser must know we are not out for fun.We shall avenge poor Belgium in good English styleThen the Kaiser’s face will not wear a smile,For we skin the sausages in the good old style,And make them run for many a mile.Now Yorkshire lads in factory, shop and mineJoin Kitchener’s Army. Tis a perilous time.Don’t be afraid, it is a great causeTo keep the old country from German laws.So don’t hang back, but wear khakiCome fight for England, the land of the free.
Just across the strip of water,Not so very far away,There’s a mighty contest waging,Britishers are in the fray.They have left their homes and kindred,Wives and little children too,Proud to serve their King and country –Can the same be said of you?Have you left your all in Britain,Everything that you loved best?
Have you earned the name of comrade,Are you serving with the rest?Oh be British in the spiritFor our cause is just and true, Do not stay behind, a slacker,There is work for you to do.For the foe is keen and cunning,Thinks no game too low to play,Can’t you hear your country calling –Come! We need you now, today!
Pte H Weedon wrote from India praising those who had answered the call but added: ‘Still I maintain there are a few slackers who would be better employed other than in their present capacity.‘Do they ever think of the future or are they blind to everything outside their own little world? They must surely know by now the need for every available young man, especially the single ones.’And he added a poem:COME, WE NEED YOU TODAY!