Sunday please join with us to
remember all those who served with the Regiment.
To mark this day we share with you a poem written by Canon John Purvis. Today Canon Purvis is probably best known for his work on modernizing the York Mystery Plays but during the First World War he served with the 1st/5th Yorkshire Regiment.
Prior to the
outbreak of the First World War Purvis taught at Cranleigh School, Surrey. Away from school walks along the South Downs gave him great pleasure and inspired his poem Steyning. This poem, first published in 1916, vividly contrasts the beauty of an English lane in summer with life in the trenches.
I can’t forget the lane that goes from Steyning to the Ring
In summer time, and on the Down how larks and linnets sing
High in the sun. The wind comes off the sea, and Oh the air!
I never knew till now that life in old days was so fair.
But now I know it in this filthy rat infested ditch
When every shell may spare or kill – and God alone knows which.
And I am made a beast of prey, and this trench is my lair.
My God! I never knew till now that those days were so fair.
So we assault in half an hour, and – it’s a silly thing –
I can’t forget the narrow lane to Chanctonbury Ring