I was delighted to learn from United Press that my poem about a young WW1 soldier who died 100 years ago and is buried in my local church cemetery had made it onto the short list selected from over 11,400 entries nationwide. Unfortunately, the poem didnt win the top prize but it was nice to learn it had been in the running and it is destined for a wider audience (see below).  The competition required a poem of no more than 25 lines (160 words) on a local theme from my home town (West Bridgford in my case). 

 

Inspiration arrived when I strolled through St Giles's church cemetery and began to think about the commonwealth war grave with the name Rifleman A.C.Lacey thereon which I had seen many times before. I became curious to know how a soldier from the Great War had come to be buried in my local churchyard. I did some research and wrote some articles which were published in the nottingham post and westbridgford wire

Whilst my entry didnt win the competition it has been selected to be included in a poetry anthology to be published by United Press in 2015 entitled 'Home is where the Heart is' . In this way others will now come to know of Rifleman Lacey's sacrifice 100 years ago and his connection to my home town, West Bridgford. 

Rifleman 2952 Albert.C.Lacey 

Eh up – it's me! Rifleman 2952 Albert C Lacey
Volunteered in September 1914, I may have been a bit hasty
"It's all right Mum" I said, as I picked up rifle and pack
"It'll be over by Christmas, I'll come right on back"
I joined the Kings Rifles to fight 'Kaiser Bill'
I did basic training and learned all the drills
Target practice, fixing bayonets - pretending to kill
I was out in all weathers and caught quite a chill
but before it had got going, my War was all over
I was back in West Bridgford by the middle of October;
"You're lucky" some said to my Mum through her grief
To mourn your son here must bring some relief?

Over here! Rifleman 2952 Albert C Lacey
St Giles's churchyard, beneath dandelion and daisy
Here have I lain for a century and more
To remind passers-by, of the fragility of life and futility of war

(c) Rob Hann November 2014