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Remembered Today:

"SOUTHERN CRUSH" ARMY SLANG?


Fred van Woerkom
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If you know which Battalion of the A&SH the author was serving in, and we know the date of the poem (4th March 1917), with a small amount of research it might be possible to identify the southern English regiment of the man who died...or at least narrow down the possibilities. MG

Edit. His MIC shows 8th Bn i.e 1/8th Bn A& SH TF which was part of 152nd Bde 51st Highland Div TF. So I guess it is simply a question of trying to identify neighbouring units in March 1917.

In late Feb - early March 1917 the Battalion was alternating between the trenches in Rolincourt and billets/huts in Ecurie

The most likely date of the poem is 4 march 1917. This is the date given in MORE SONGS BY THE FIGHTING MEN SOLDIER POETS: SECOND SERIES LONDON ERSKINE MACDONALD. LTD. which is online at archive.org. I have seen other dates attached to the poem. Without a manuscript there is no definitive date. Assuming this one's the good 'un, the battalion relieved the 6th Bat Seaforth Highlanders at Roclincourt on 3 March and stayed in the trenches from 4th to 9th. when they were relieved by 5 Bn Seaforth Highlanders. No mention of any fighting in 1/8th war diary or casualties at this time.

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The most likely date of the poem is 4 march 1917. This is the date given in MORE SONGS BY THE FIGHTING MEN SOLDIER POETS: SECOND SERIES LONDON ERSKINE MACDONALD. LTD. which is online at archive.org. I have seen other dates attached to the poem. Without a manuscript there is no definitive date. Assuming this one's the good 'un, the battalion relieved the 6th Bat Seaforth Highlanders at Roclincourt on 3 March and stayed in the trenches from 4th to 9th. when they were relieved by 5 Bn Seaforth Highlanders. No mention of any fighting in 1/8th war diary or casualties at this time.

Casualties caused by shelling? Out of the line on 'rest' they were still employed in working parties during the day and night.

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If you know which Battalion of the A&SH the author was serving in, and we know the date of the poem (4th March 1917), with a small amount of research it might be possible to identify the southern English regiment of the man who died...or at least narrow down the possibilities. MG

Edit. His MIC shows 8th Bn i.e 1/8th Bn A& SH TF which was part of 152nd Bde 51st Highland Div TF. So I guess it is simply a question of trying to identify neighbouring units in March 1917.

In late Feb - early March 1917 the Battalion was alternating between the trenches in Rolincourt and billets/huts in Ecurie

Martin,

It's a poem and thus aimed at distilling the emotional essence of a whole series of experiences, not a factual attempt at documenting specific events.

As such I fear trying to identify the regiment/battalion of the 'man' in the poem will be chasing smoke and even if such research brings results, how exactly can they be verified?

Elsewhere here on the Forum I posted Graves's A Dead Boche alongside a powerful passage from Goodbye To All That describing Graves coming across the corpses of Germans and RWF men in Mametz Wood. The prose and the poem are pretty clearly about the same incident and while knowing the circumstances of the encounter helps to expand one's imaginative interpretation of what happened specifically in Mametz Wood - which is valuable in itself - I don't think it is critical to the impact of the poem.

Graves's foray into Mametz Wood incidentally took place on 16 July 1916 - 98 years ago today.

Cheers,

Mark

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Martin,

It's a poem and thus aimed at distilling the emotional essence of a whole series of experiences, not a factual attempt at documenting specific events.

As such I fear trying to identify the regiment/battalion of the 'man' in the poem will be chasing smoke and even if such research brings results, how exactly can they be verified?

Elsewhere here on the Forum I posted Graves's A Dead Boche alongside a powerful passage from Goodbye To All That describing Graves coming across the corpses of Germans and RWF men in Mametz Wood. The prose and the poem are pretty clearly about the same incident and while knowing the circumstances of the encounter helps to expand one's imaginative interpretation of what happened specifically in Mametz Wood - which is valuable in itself - I don't think it is critical to the impact of the poem.

Graves's foray into Mametz Wood incidentally took place on 16 July 1916 - 98 years ago today.

Cheers,

Mark

Mark, the same thought occurred to me. The date on the page shown earlier possibly refers to when it was submitted not when it was penned. It could equally refer to the Somme where the 51st HD trained the 60th London Division which could be a southern crowd or 'crush'. I could go through the movements of the Division but really, anywhere between 1 May 1915 and early 1917...there is little point. Unless the poet has written elsewhere or placed some pretty strong hints or clues that a specific piece was inspired by....then it is not at all traceable in my view.

My previous post I thought highlighted that his poetic observation, if indeed that is what it was, might not refer to a particular battle or action and could be anywhere. I wasn't able to expand on the Somme because I didn't have the information to hand when I posted. The previous good work on the vocabulary choices in the poem is in danger of being overshadowed by a bit of a futile attempt to pin it down.

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