Updated 16 Jul 2008

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

Return to Front Page

War Poems

by Joe Harrison and
Charlotte Farnsworth

    Hello John
    The enclosed poem was written by Mr Joseph Harrison of Middleton, who was for a time Water Bailiff for the village when the only water supply were springs on Middleton Moor piped to street taps, the main tap being on Middleton Greeen (The Basin), where a more plentiful supply of water was to be gained. Mr Harrison who was a partial cripple having broken a leg which never properly healed, used to sit on the Basin which was a half round trough which caught the water from a tap overhead. When in the summer months water tended to dry up, the Middleton Green supply was the only source as the other street taps would dry up. Mr Harrison would sit and only let the women take a limited amount of water (rationed). They would line up on Middleton Green with their buckets ..In the 1930s my father Harry Sprake Flint who was Chairman of Wirksworth & District Water Board (Liberal Councillor for Middleton Ward 1928 - 1949 his seat in 1953 taken by one of your kinsmen William Hubert Doxey, Hubert my friend today now in his mid 80s he and I having sung together in choirs and served on committees together) oversaw the establishment of treated water from land owned by George Henry Key on Slaley Moor which ran into the Pumping Station in Via Gellia opposite Tufa Cottage (see photograph on your web pages) and then pumped up Via Gellia Wood into Storage Reservoirs on Middleton Moor and then piped to every home in Middleton (other ironically than the area on Water Lane where the original water supply was sourced, the Water Lane residents still having to draw their water from a pipe which ran into a trough at the head of Water Lane on land owned by my wife's family of Slack ...) The Water Bailiff in my youth was Middleton's Lengthsman Samuel Pearson who also saw action in the 1st W.W. In my childhood Mr Pearson would call for me and I would follow him around the village, he with his Council barrow, myself having a small tin barrow..tending to the cleaning of the lanes and roads around Middleton also going onto Middleton Moor to treat the water in the Reservoirs...

    Joseph Harrison was related to my wifes family and to myself via Jepson's and Spencer / Butlers

    The Poem written by J Harrison about the men who fought for King and Country in the 1st World War. Each man is called by his nick name

    Regards Stuart G Flint

    See also Middleton Memorials

    For their King and Country

    by Joe Harrison
    This is the Battle Royal
    Where our brave fella's are proving so loyal
    They're only boys of the working class
    But they went to enlist and everyone passed
    There's Doxey and Ken and Duchy and Jerry
    Whenerver you saw them they always were merry
    There's Tickle and Tata and Raggett and Wafty
    They never cared if it were cold or were drafty
    There's Brigham and Spud and also old Punkey
    They'll fight for their King and fight for their country
    There's  John Walker, Tom Cager also two Killers
    They've passed scores of nights without any pillers
    There's two Walker lads from Rising Sun
    They'll never give up till th' battles won 
    There's poor Josh Buckley and George Doxey Egg
    One got wounded in th' face and tuther in th' leg
    There's poor Joey Lamb was with th' Eighth Army and French 
    But they say poor lad was found  gassed in a trench 
    There's poor Jack Melbourne got killed outright
    But he died fighting in th' cause of the right
    There's Joe Jespon George Petts and George Aaron Doxey 
    They're doing their bit if only in training 
    There's Sam Charlie, Bob Charlie, Jo William and Mather 
    Now these chaps'll  fight till they're all in a lather 
    There's Les Doxey, Bill Hallam and happy Jim Houghton
    They say that the Germans are willing and rough uns
    Now these are the chaps that'll  fight the good fight
    And if they catch the Kaiser they'll put him to flight
    But if  this aint enough we've got plenty more
    There's Auxillary waitin for th' knock on the door
    So now my good friends I'll finish my rhyme 
    And I'll write you another some other time

    You may find the following poem of interest ..It was written in 1915 by Charlotte Farnsworth my sister in law Jennifer Flint nee Farnsworth's Grt Aunt when she was 24 years of age. Charlotte was the daughter of Arthur Thomas and Charlotte Farnsworth nee Wormlieghton of Bonsall, Arthur being, as all his family were Master Stonemasons and Building Contractors, originally from Middleton Youlgreave then to Ible Bonsall then Cromford/Middleton By Wirksworth/Matlock. The family in the early 1900s founded a choir which gave Annual Concerts in aid of The Whitworth Hospital up to the hospital becoming a part of the N.H.S. in 1948. Charlotte lived on Yeoman Street Bonsall then removed to Cromford.. I have others of her poems .. The Farnsworth family pedigrees are on John Palmer's Contributed Peds having been contributed by Emma Hilman and Stuart Flint.

    Our Local Lads (Cromford)

    by Charlotte Farnsworth 1915
    Our Country is at war, we wish it were not so
    But it was forced upon us, so someone had to go
    Our Lads were not behind, in answering their countries call
    To go and fight for England, to either Stand.. or..Fall.
    We grieve to think that some have paid the price for glory great,
    Their precious lives have given to save us Belgiums fate,
    We think of Bonham Carter, Joe Tomlinson, Jack Brown
    Billy Sherrat and Bob Britland, whose lives have been laid down
    We grieve that Captain Arkwright  met such a tragic fate 
    For he was of the bravest, his loss to us is great:
    We never will forget them, these lads so brave and true
    Who left our quiet village, their little bit to do;
    Greater Love hath no man - Our Loving Saviour said -
    Than to give their lives for others ; God rest our Glorious dead.
    Charlotte then goes on to name other men of Cromford and Bonsall who paid the price of war
    We also think of brave Jim Holmes, who nobly played  his part
    To help win the battle - the greatest ever fought,
    And then their's Laurie Fryer who went early to the front
    With our 'Little Contemptible Army' and bravely bore the brunt.
    There's Jim Toplis,and Fred Holland and Jimmy Gibbs as well
    Frank Brown, Joe Pidcock, George Gibbs, Sam Taylor too,
    Along with Bert Parker, went their duty for to do.
    Harry Britland and George Lloyd, also Arthur Biddulph who
    All were sent to the Dardanelles to try and break it through.
    And then there's our brave Yeomanry who thought the Turks they'd try
    So they were sent to Egypt, then to Gallipoli -
    Herbert Gillott and Tom Huddart, Alf Redfern and Fred Mee
    Wilfred Bosley and Frank Fearn and Owen Sudbury,
    John Allen and Tony Greatorex along with Percy Wright,
    And when they got to grips, showed how our Cromford lads would fight ;
    Then others of our Local lads went into France 'somewhere'
    To join our gallant army, and bravely do their share
    There's Mr Robinsons three sons Harry, George and Tom,
    They command the admiration, we feel sure, of everyone 
    There's George Ratcliffe and Sam Pearson, Harold Smith and Arthur Rose
    Dick Roberts,and Jack Sherratt ready to meet all foes...

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved.