The Pity of War – God Help Humanity

Every term, each teacher has to lead one assembly and mine is on the suggested topic of The Battle of the Somme. I’m fortunate to teach performing arts so this allows me the opportunity to explore the topic with the students and find ways to involve them in the assembly, I have some songs in mind and just found this poem online. Isn’t the interweb marvellous? Who remembers the olden days when preparing lessons and doing research of any kind involved leaving home to visit a library? I have my own views on war but I can respect those we have lost and those they have left behind, forever scarred by their loss. The only way that I can approach this task is to look at conflict, resolution and the consequences of war, in its broadest sense.

The Battle of the Somme – A poem for remembrance day
Ellie Jenkins

It was 1916 on the 1st of July
That artillery and smoke blackened the sky.
Shots rang out and men fell dead,
The sky was black, while the ground was red.
To battle the Germans the French and British had come,
To the bloodiest fight of the War, The Battle of the Somme.
While artillery rained down on the German side
The allies swallowed their fear and stood with pride.
Waiting to be ordered over the top,
To run without question, don’t look back and don’t stop.
But this is when the slaughter started,
Machine guns screamed out as bodies and limbs became parted.
Fifty-eight thousand casualties in one single day
‘A necessary loss’ the Generals would say.
‘We will rest for now and recommence tomorrow
No time for the men to indulge in their sorrow’
So they readied the next batch of men for the slaughter,
Would they fare better when faced with the mortars?
The answer to this question was obviously no
As the casualty counts continued to grow.
For every single centimeter of ground that was taken
The lives of two men were sadly forsaken.
And so the battle waged on and on,
The bloodiest battle of World War One.
Yet as they made progress towards German lines,
The allies had one thing in the front of their minds.
For the Germans had a weapon the allies had yet to discover
One that would find men even if they took cover.
As the allied assault drew nearer and nearer
The time to use this weapon had never been clearer.
The little grey canisters flew through the air
Giving the allied forces more than a scare.
The men now engaged in a fight for their lives,
They could not protect themselves with their guns or their knives.
Their only weapon now was a mask
But fitting it in time was a very hard task.
‘Gas, Gas!’ some men would cry
Most had masks, the rest would die.
Their screams could be heard as they approached their death,
Blood curdled in their lungs as they drew their last breath.
Eventually their eyes would roll back in their head
And with a final twitch and spasm they lay still, dead.
And so the battle waged on and on,
The bloodiest battle of World War One.
Even with the threat of the German gas,
It was time for a final allied assault to mass.
And with this Britain unveiled their tank
When the battle ended they had this to thank.
It stormed over No-Man’s Land, through German wire,
The Germans shook in fear as it prepared to fire.
For the British troops it opened the way,
For the deaths of their comrades the Germans would pay.
And the German death count grew and grew
As the allied assault continued to break through.
And though the fighting had not ended,
The morale of the allies began to get mended.
They pushed with valor towards their objective,
With a new vigor the Germans had not expected.
Although the enemy held, and did not retreat
This battle is viewed as a German defeat.
It was 1916 on the 21st of November
That the five month long battle was finally over.
No shots rang out but thousands were dead,
The sky was still black, the ground was stained red.
To battle the Germans the French and British had come,
To the bloodiest fight of the War, The Battle of the Somme.

If this has sparked your interest, you may wish to check out this link for more information 



About neverblendin

David Watters, a graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh, Trinity College of Music, London and the Institute of Education, University of London, has worked internationally within education and Educational Management for more than 20 years. He has taught extensively within many socially and culturally diverse settings; most recently as a Head of Performing Arts within Further Education. He is a personal and professional development associate with The Pacific Institute (, personal coach, freelance writer and founding member of NBI Associates. He is a writer on social equality issues, is a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK and author of the forthcoming book, NEVER BLEND IN which features key voices from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and which aims to inspire and encourage those who may lack self-esteem or who question their validity. David is currently promoting a youtube campaign"Give 'em Hope"and is asking individuals, couples and groups to make and share videos telling about the benefits of living with personal authenticity. He has shared a platform with Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell and is a supporter of 17-24-30, The Trevor Project, Schools Out, The Terrence Higgins Trust, The Albert Kennedy Trust and numerous others. His background in arts and education, combined with a solid understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Strategies, and his passion for Equality Advocacy drive every aspect of his work as a personal development facilitator, motivational speaker and writer. View all posts by neverblendin

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