Soldier – Stockwell Fred – Somewhere in the North of France

September 1915

Mexborough Times – Sept 4th 1915

“Somewhere in the north of France.”

We have received the following lines written by Private Fred Stockwell, Denaby Main, who is now serving in France with a brave K.O.Y.L.I.Regiment:

“Somewhere in the north of France.”

At Eventide, I took a stroll,
as the sun sank in the West;
I was dreaming of my dear old home
Friends and folks I love the best

There was nothing around me but ruins,
Desolate place; but once fine,
The only landmark still standing
Is a little wayside Shrine

By the crucifix, I halted,
It somehow appealed to me;
I sat down just beside it,
And fell into reverie

I forgot the desolation,
I felt the spell of romance
As I pictured a pretty village,
Here, in the north of France

Before the beasts of Europe
Their bestial work had begun,
And before we knew the kultur
Of the base and degraded Hun

I pictured a place once smiling,
Happy, peaceful and content,
Where the humble honest peasant
His days in comfort spent

Once again the place seem peaceful
In the quiet evening air
And fancy seem to blind me
To the awful ruins there.

But lo! The roaring of cannon
Not far away, resound;
Once again the scene is changing,
The ruins appear all around.

I gaze around in the moonlight
On piles of bricks and dross
Until my eyes rest intently
On a little wooden cross.

Telling of two innocent children
killed by a German shell
and of a mothers deep anguish
but no words of mine can tell.

Ach, Hun! These little children
with pure white soul shall stand
against thee; to bear true witness
And the judgement bar in another land.

At the corner of God´s Little acre
Stood the church, the villagers pride
Now, no two stone stand together
It’s all in ruins, and cast aside.

Oh God, can’t thou stand and see
These callous acts of shame
Committed by the German hordes,
Who even invoke thy name.

Then, I lifted my eyes appealing
To the figure on the shrine;
These words seem to come, in answer
To these thoughts of mine:

“Be quiet, child, a little while,
And calmly believe in Me;
For what you would do for freedom
I did for the world, and Thee.

Oh God, so high not holy
Vengeance we know is Thine;
The mills of God grind slowly
But they grind exceedingly fine.

“So some day, Please God, we´ll come home,
Our ranks not as thick as of yore,
For many are laid in a hero’s grave
At rest, on a foreign shore.”

This is no painted picture
Or a mere story of romance;
But a modern deserted village
Somewhere in the north of France.