Song for Willie.
And Tommy.
And Ned.

i.m. Corporal William Byrne

‘A’ Company 1st Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Born 1893 – KIA 27 October 1914
First Battle of Ypres, in Flanders Fields

We might have held you
If we had met
We might have helped allay
The fear that came too often
Until that fateful day
We might have offered comfort
We might have shed a tear
We might have heard it said
We’ll not forget our comrades
Like Willie and Tommy and Ned

But you were there
And we are here
We came to find you Willie
We came though very late
We found you all together
Writ on Menin’s Gate
Little we did compared to them
Not found among the Fallen
But named among The Dead
Willie and Tommy and Ned

The bells of Ypres once shattered
Pealed a reluctant joy
At Eight O’Clock
Like poppies we stood long
The Last Post played in silence
The Last Post was your song
We who are blessed to remember
In remembering keep alive
So many, so terribly many dead
Like Willie and Tommy and Ned

Willie we remembered.
We found your name,
Perhaps your place of rest
Among comrades dead and gone.
With thanks and pride
We heard your song
We prayed for all the dead
But would that we had rather heard
The Song of Life resounding
For Willie and Tommy and Ned


Martin Swords
27 October 2014
Ypres and Wicklow



Written to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Death- in-Action of
Corporal William Byrne. The occasion marked in a special way by the
presentation and laying of a personalized Poppy Wreath as part of the
Official Commemoration Ceremony at The Menin Gate, Ypres, and playing of The Last Post, 27th October 2014

Presentation group and wreath laying party comprised
three direct relations of Corporal William Byrne – ‘Willie’ –
Russ Mansfield, John Goggins, Martin Swords – for all, an honour.

May he and all who died in the war of 1914 – 1918, Rest In Peace.

This dedicated poem was written partly at The Menin Gate, Ypres, 27 October 2014, and later out walking dogs in the woods of Tiglin, County Wicklow, Ireland

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