August 10th 1916

Paddy Burton‘s father, who writes under the pseudonym of ‘Touchstone’ for the Daily Mail, has sent us this poem for the forthcoming edition of the ‘Draconian,’ to be printed alongside the notice of his son’s death.

How well it captures the pain all parents must feel when receiving such heart-breaking news as the death of a beloved son.

Burton P (2b)

Deeply regret to inform you that Capt HPC Burton 1st Bedford Reg’t was killed in action July 27. The Army Council expresses their sympathy.

A SCRAP OF PAPER
A scrap of paper! “Killed in action,” so
Die all the dreams of happier days to be!
And yet, thank God, you were the first to go
When England called for Men to keep her free.
Thank God for that pure, manly heart and true
That kept your face for ever towards the light
That lit the only path you ever knew
And made you victor still in death’s despite.

Not all our sighs, not all our selfish tears,
Can call you back, but you whose clear young eyes
Looked on the promise of the coming years,
You never grudged the final sacrifice.
Is it not written that your latest breath
Bade him who brought you succour not to stay
But to pass onward through that land of death,
To lead your well-loved soldiers in the fray?

A scrap of paper? Nay, a sacred scroll,
A great and glorious treaty, signed and sealed
In your heart’s blood, wherein our England’s soul
For those who shall come after, stands revealed.
So thank we God who in his mercy gave
His own dear son to death upon the tree,
For all who follow him who died to save
And win the deathless crown of victory!
                                       Touchstone
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