A Premonition Before Battle- Givenchy,France 1915

Givenchy 1915, France

Givenchy 1915, France

 

A Premonition Before Battle- Givenchy,France 1915

I wish I had been a kinder man
I wish I had shared more
I wish there was no more war
I wish my children never have to fight
I wish there had been more ebb and flow
I wish I had climbed the highest mountain
I wish I had navigated the longest river
I wish I had seen a golden eagle in flight

I wish I had seen a King Cobra
I wish I had not killed in anger
I wish I had made a fire with sticks
I wish there had been more give and take
I wish I had ridden on a tank
I wish I could have eaten caviar from the Volga
I wish I had found a needle in a haystack
I wish I had been enfolded in the arms of a butterfly

I wish I had learnt to play the accordion
I wish I had learnt to speak Latin
I wish I had been incorruptible
I wish I had ridden elephants with Hannibal
I wish I could have sung like a skylark
I wish I could have swum with dolphins
I wish had seen the Hanging gardens of Babylon
Alas, these thoughts will soon be forgotten.

***

This poem was sent to us by John Wood. As we understand, he wrote this poem inspired by the fact, that his grandfather participated in this battle and never returned from France back to his home.

 

Defence of Givenchy (Wikipedia)

Indian reinforcements who fought at Givenchy, December 1914

Indian reinforcements who fought at Givenchy, December 1914

 At dawn on 20 December, the front of the Indian Corps with the Lahore and Meerut divisions was bombarded by heavy artillery and mortars. At 9:00 a.m., ten mines of 50 kilograms (110 lb) each, were exploded under the British lines at Givenchy, which were followed up by infantry attacks on the village and northwards to La Quinque Rue. The trenches either side of Givenchy were captured and east of Festubert, German troops advanced for 300 yards (270 m). During the afternoon, a brigade of the 1st Division of I Corps was sent forward as reinforcement, followed by another brigade at 3:17 p.m. Next day, both brigades rested until noon and then attacked towards Givenchy and the break-in near Festubert. The third 1st Division brigade arrived during the afternoon and was sent forward to recapture “the Orchard” 1-mile (1.6 km) to the north-east of Festubert, which had been captured during the morning. Waterlogged ground and German machine-gun fire delayed the advance, which only reached Givenchy after dark, just after the garrison had retired. The 1st Guards Brigade and French Territorial troops retook the village but the disruption of the counter-attack, left a small amount of ground near Festubert on the northern flank in German hands. The 1st Division brigades were isolated in the dark and the Indian Corps commander, reported that the troops were exhausted and must be relieved. It was arranged through General Headquarters, that I Corps would relieve the Indian Corps on 21 December, which was completed on 22 December.[15]

First Action of Givenchy (Wikipedia)

A German soldier deserted on 25 January and disclosed that a German attack was due against Cuinchy, French positions to the south and against Givenchy to the north. About ninety minutes later, units of the German 79th Brigade of VII Corps, attacked on the north bank of the canal. Near Givenchy, German infantry reached strong-points behind the support line but could not advance further. A hasty counter-attack by the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division, which had two companies per battalion in the line, one in local reserve and one in brigade reserve, drove the Germans back and re-captured the British trenches, taking 72 prisoners and killing 135 German soldiers.

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