A Rifleman's poem - Neuve Chapelle.

Lt Col George Brenton Laurie
Lt Col George Brenton Laurie, the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles. During the third day of continuous heavy fighting at Neuve Chapelle, he was shot and killed at 1720 hours on 12 March 1915. As he rose to lead a charge, revolver in hand, his last words were 'Follow me, I will lead you!' A bullet struck him to the right of his nose and killed him instantaneously.

R.I.R.'s Neuve Chapelle, 1915

Come, please just pay attention, and a story I will tell
Of how the gallant R.I.R.'s were the first in Neuve Chapelle;
Colonel Laurie gave the order to advance,
And when they met the Germans our boys did make them dance.

With bayonets fixed we rushed them, though outnumbered five to one;
Each one did prove a hero, and many a gallant deed was done;
Our noble Colonel he was killed, our Major fell as well,
And a score of our brave officers lost their lives at Neuve Chapelle.

Our men were lost in hundreds, no regiment could do more,
And when the fight was over our officers numbered four;
Yet manfully they struggled amidst that living hell,
And out of all the British Army were the first in Neuve Chapelle.

Then here's to the gallant R.I.R., those riflemen so brave,
Who nobly did their duty and found a soldier's grave;
So may their glory ever shine, for they have proved their worth,
And laurels brought to Ireland for the honour of the North.


Regt No. 9180 Rifleman Dickson J
A Company
3rd Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles
at Dublin.

This is not the only poem dedicated to the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. The following was composed by 8402 Pvte George Green, Lincolnshire Regiment (1889-1916)

Did you hear of the Lincolns
of their fame I will try to tell.
How they helped in that Glorious Victory
in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

It was about six in the morning
as we waited to start the attack.
All the boys were eager for Battle,
with six hundred guns at our back.

Of a sudden the guns starting barking,
the twelve inch and nine point two’s.
As the other I would like to mention,
as there were Huns more than a few.

My God when the shells started bursting
you would think hell had been let loose.
With the enemy one consolation,
to give in or retire which they choose.

It lasted an hour and a quarter
when we received the order to charge.
We were over the top like lightning,
with a cheer from the R.I.R.’s

It was then our Gallant Colonel
received the first wound of the day.
His last words were have we took the trenches,
it was then that God called him away.

The gallant R.I.R.’s took the village
as they meant from the start.
I’ll always take off my hat to the Irish
on that terrible tenth of March.

Lieutenant Colonel George Brenton Laurie had written 'History of the Royal Irish Rifles' that was published in 1914.