Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

kathleen donaldson

The Wooden Track-Menin Road 1917

Recommended Posts

kathleen donaldson



Corporal Joseph Tottey
Royal Field Artillery

“Corporal J. Tottey, who is now in a camp in this country, forwards us the verse given below, which he states were sent to him by one of his drivers while he was in a London hospital wounded:-



In a place not far from Ypres,
Just a little further back,
By the name of Warrington Road, sir,
Better known as the wooden track.

If you went through the whole of Belgium,
Or along the Somme front and back,
There is no place so full of terror
As the fatal wooden track.

It is vivid in our memories,
As here we try to tell,
There is no place to compare it,
Not even the place called Hell.

It is the noble duty,
Of the column further back
To carry ammunition
Along that fatal track.

And when they get the order
To be ready sharp at nine
You can see the drivers mounted,
And ready for up the line.

It is only but their duty
As true Britishers should know
And, through death should await them,
Still forward they do go

For our guns are always calling
For shells both night and day,
And as they near the place so fatal
They think of home and pray.

They pray to God in Heaven
To bring them safely back
And give them strength and courage
As they travel along the track.

It is now they need that courage
As they gallop along the track;
Though shells fall thick around them
There is no turning back.

Though tragic in its splendour-
The scene that meets they eye-
The bravest and the best, sir
Have gone there, alas! to die.

It is a scene of carnage
Most awful to behold
And the bravest men amongst us
Feel our very blood run cold.

But when the war is over,
And in Blighty we are back,
We shall do our best then to forget
The fatal wooden track.

• Corporal Joseph Tottey was wounded in action and appears in a Casualty list published 28th September 1917.
• I estimate he was wounded on or about 20th August 1917 at Passhendaele

© Copyright 15th March 2014 Kfd
Transcribed by KathyD

Edited by kathleen donaldson

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just come across this poem. My wife has a copy of this composed, we believe, by a relative.

Driver W. A. Brant No.139250

"F" Battery 14th Brigade

Royal Horse Artillery

3rd battle of Ypres 1917

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting...I also have a copy of this poem entitled THE FATAL WOODEN TRACK, which then reads '(The following lines are by Corpl. A. Heavingham, of Trench Mortar Battery, son of Mrs. Heavingham of 'The Load of Hay', Hendon.)  The wording is slightly different to the above in some places but essentially the same.  Any thoughts?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Because the Centenery of the armistice is coming up,  I  went through my late father- in-law's papers and came across this poem in his handwriting. Some words are crossed out and replaced and some are different from the ones above. My father-in-law was a driver in the RED unit A/161 BE.  So pleased to have this information - source found for me today after posting on Facebook by my grandso

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Liz Abbott

I also have a copy (or two) of this poem and was told by my father that his uncle Joe had written it. His uncle Joe was Alfred Joseph Heavingham. I would be very interested to know if anyone can clarify that.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...