THE FALLEN OF FROMELLES
My Granddad was a Didekoi. A Gypsy, a traveling man
who roamed the narrow Kentish lanes in a painted caravan.
He'd mend your pots and kettles, and carved wooden dolly pegs.
He was a dab hand with a horse and never once did beg.
A big Shire he called Plodder, pulled the small van with ease
and time never meant anything, they ambled as they pleased.
He'd set a rabbit snare to catch a bunny for his pot
and he knew the shady campsites near a stream if days were hot.
Plodder stood sixteen hands high, with feet as big as plates.
A gentle, willing dark bay horse, my Granddads equine mate.
He threw his weight into the traces, and gave all he was worth
Horse brasses shone on his bridle and on his plaited girth.
Granddad was a handsome fellow as the gypsy's often are
and young girls flocked around him where he traveled near and far.
But he had eyes for no one save a dark haired sloe eyed lass
who was promised him in marriage, and that soon would come to pass.
But thunder rolled, and dark clouds came, and soon the War Gods called
young men to fight for King and country., their bravery extolled.
The Mothers in every county wept as they sent their sons to war
and few knew where their boys were sent once they left England's shore..
My Granddad with the 61st Div, left England's shores behind .
He knew not what was waiting, but was calm within his mind
He knew the fighting must be done. Loved ones must be protected
but when he landed at Fromelles 'twas worse than he expected.
The air was thick with bullets in a criss cross grid of death.
Hundreds were mown down as they stood, ne'er chance to draw a breath.
The German forces had set up machine gun enfilades
the Aussie boys were fighting too..Death paid for every yard.
After the battle guns had stopped, for the battle was lost
Germans reclaimed the land that our troops recently had crossed
Over two hundred bodies the Germans took to 'Pheasant Wood'
eight mass graves behind the German lines waited for Allied blood.
We think my Granddad one of them, for he never returned
His sloe eyed lass with raven hair for many years sadly yearned
to hold him in her arms again, but it was not to be
The Didekoi, the Gypsy lad never returned you see.
But now today the fallen, who fought and died in France
Have finally been found again, given a second chance
to become a part once more of their families memories
in a cemetery built to honor them across the sea.
The cemeteries not far away from their last resting place
but now they'll have the honours earned, a headstone and a face.
A place where families can come and mourn. Honour their dead.
A place of quiet tranquility. Flags flying overhead
The thirtieth of January, Year two thousand and ten
the first man will be reburied, and more each day until then
they have buried all two fifty souls. Flags flutter overhead
As England, Australia and France pay homage to their dead.
And somewhere theres a Didekoi, a Gypsy lad, a fighting man
whose final resting place is France. He'll no more see the green land
where he walked the lanes with Plodder, the big sixteen hand Shire.
He'll stay forever at Fromelles. A hero killed under fire.