It was all over now; it was time to leave.
So many left behind, Constantinople a faded dream.
Midnight saw us at W Beach just before Christmas.
A time of peace, of brotherly love,
But of necessity, a time to keep low, the head down.
To avoid the sniper’s ever-vigilant eye –
We would soon be departing for good,
Not as thieves in the night, but as soldiers,
Our memories raw, our farewells exhausted.
Christmas Eve, one lifetime ago, too many beers in ‘The
Snoring in the midnight pew with Walter,
So long ago even Walter’s cheeky grin had faded;
A Turkish delight broke the calm of the present peaceful
Four nonchalant planes scattering gifts from above
On waiting supplicants, leaving festive red upon the sand
Captain Cox, the officer left from the April landing,
A direct hit, his good fortune ended.
Christmas Day, Johny Turk was quiet, perhaps he knew?
But the hostile sea was short on understanding
Few supplies were landed, but there were plum puddings,
Bully beef made tasty rissoles, and officers joked with
Not like home, of course, but the dug-outs exuded good
And ghostly friends watched and approved,
A window of earthly peace and goodwill
Engraved forever into their candid souls,
With their fallen comrades, never to be forgotten.
The poet Robert Pike has studied and visited Gallipoli over the last twenty years. He lives in the county of Essex and both Private Walter King and Captain George Cox were from Essex and members of the Essex Regiment. Walter King died on 25.10.1915 and is buried in Azmak Cemetery. Captain Cox died 24.12.1915 and is buried in Lancashire Landing Cemetery.
Robert & Carrie PIKE