Cousin Willy turned fourteen:
Time to leave school and become a man.
Dad was a collier down the pit
And said, they need a lad down there
To drive the ponies.
Nice job, thought Willy, driving ponies.
The pit was dark and dusty,
Coal dust in your eyes, your nose, your mouth, your hair,
The ponies came out blinking once a year
To feed on fresh green grass
But not too much (colic!)
Then back into the black.
Willy and his pony were a team
Short and sturdy both
Bound by a bond of mutual dependence in the dark,
Willy turned eighteen:
Your King and Country need you!
Screamed the posters
So Willy came out blinking,
Went to war, seeking
Adventure, glory, honour, fun!
He went abroad, to France
And Flanders fields.
MUSGRAVE: Pte. William, 15083, 8th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers. 26th Sept. 1916. Age 20. Son of Joseph William and Mary Musgrave, of 41, Hatherly Rd, Tinsley, Sheffield.