A letter from the Prime Minister,
Would be consumed by the flames,
Along with the previous
And the confirmation of their deaths:
sons pitiful names.
A shilling from the King,
Would be scorned by the neighbours,
Along with the spurious
And the defloration of their friendship:
sons lamentable labours.
An insult to the Monarch,
Would be instituted by the mother,
Along with the furious
And the neglect of her duty:
Interring her sons, one after
A candle to Frederick,
Burning for life,
Would be confounded by the disappearance,
Along with the nauseous trace
And the face of her boy:
Invoking her sons fate of abhorrence.
She lost five of her six sons during the First
World War, the other falling to illness soon after the hostilities were over.
Frederick was never found, along with a handful of others, who were defending a
position at the Somme. His mother kept a candle burning in the window in a vain
hope that he would return. Given a shilling for each sons death, Annie
was shunned by villagers in Great Rissington, due to jealousy over the pensions
she was receiving. She would no doubt rather have received her boys home.
She blamed the King. Apparently she refused to
stand for the National Anthem. The family burned documents and moved away from
Cant blame her
A Mousehole lad, educated in Paul,
Trewavas life panned out to enthral;
The sea had beckoned,
Navy, he reckoned
Would be his vocation
And his first embarkation,
Aboard Agamemnon, a steamship heavily armed,
Took him to
the Crimea, his life utterly charmed.
At Sebastopol and Inkerman with the Naval
Brigade, he fought,
Saw the diseased, the deceased, the damned and the
The Straits of Genitchi beckoned,
In the Sea of Azov, he
This was his vocation,
On HMS Beagle, his embarkation,
For him to implement the imminent destruction
Of a supply-line, a
pontoon, a Russian construction.
Densely defended, the floating bridge was heavily
Three previous excursions had been successfully rejected;
The pontoon thus beckoned,
An axe, Joseph reckoned:
This was his
In a gig, his embarkation,
Led to shock, if not incredulity
from the Russian massed defence,
As the craft was rowed forward, the axe
lifted and tense.
Joseph leapt from the gig and hacked at thick
To sever the great hawsers, his forlorn, buoyant hope;
One more swipe, he reckoned:
This was his vocation:
Would there be embarkation?
He scrambled aboard, Russian expressions
A musket ball to the shoulder sadly baulked his escape.
Excruciatingly embedded in flesh the missile
Bullets holed the gig, as it was rowed towards fame;
Beagles safety beckoned,
Trewavas would live, he reckoned:
had been his vocation,
A momentous embarkation;
The bridge was adrift,
the Russians forestalled,
Joseph was victorious, his enemies appalled.
The Cornishman was honoured by the Queen, in Hyde
A Victoria Cross medal, a measure, a mark;
An esteemed life
Of fishing, he reckoned:
This would be his vocation,
Quaint Mousehole his embarkation;
A quiet married life, he expected,
Agamemnon his vessel, his presence respected.
A life which spanned some sixty-nine
Became affected by paralysis, frustration then tears;
A cheese-knife, he reckoned:
An end to his vocation,
The blade slid mortally across an ageing, bloodstained
And he slipped away a day later, a hero, a sad wreck
Joseph Trewavas is celebrated by a plaque upon an
outside wall of the Mousehole house he had lived in. He was quite a hero.
On 3rd July
1855, the Russians were too surprised to fire at the small gig at first,
containing only five men but were too late to decide that the threat was
serious. The gig nearly capsized and Josephs shoulder injury wasnt
serious and he was eventually lauded, winning the Legion of Honour from France
and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, as well as the Victoria Cross. He returned
to the Agamemnon in November, 1855.
He committed suicide in July 1905.
Souls Never Found
Displaced, he rose,
Caked with the mud and
debris of the summer Somme:
He scratched his infested
Blinking in the quiet, strange light,
Barely noticing the flies
And the rats feasting upon comrades flesh,
stench, the groaning undead,
The vomit, the contortion, the waste.
Displaced, he stepped,
Baked in the location
of his absent battalion:
He sought his injured
Slinking into Rouens hospital post,
Hardly noticing the
And the bandages congealing on comrades eyes,
putrid stench, the shrouded dead,
The tears, the distortion, the distaste.
Displaced, he hovered,
Slaked with the sweat
and adrenalin of the rush of war;
He watched a writhing
Breaking his brothers youthful heart,
the healing leg wound
And the matrons helpless pleas,
scribbled postcard, the urgent treatment,
The shock, the agony, the
Displaced, he wept,
Flaked with the contusion
and horror of his harrowing loss:
He meandered an
Walking with smitten, crushed limbs,
Hardly noticing the
And his own torn, lifeless body,
The filth, the pervading
The need to be found, the need to be chaste
Frederick Souls: if his souls seeking had
found his brother, injured nearby, being treated for a wound to a leg but dying
from a blood clot to the heart on the following day