Anguish of WWI families revealed in newspaper poems

Heartfelt poems written by the grieving families of World War One victims have been highlighted by ancestry website Genes Reunited.

Heartfelt prose was a way for wives, parents, brothers, sisters and orphaned children to express their grief.
Heartfelt prose was a way for wives, parents, brothers, sisters and orphaned children to express their grief. Credit: PA

Around 16 million people died in the First World War and many relatives published original prose in their local newspapers as a way of grieving for their loved ones who died in battle, often when there was no body to mourn over.

Read: Archivists painstakingly scanned WWI soldiers' wills

A poem published in a 1916 edition of the Dover Express was penned by the family of deceased 29-year-old Alfred Priest, from the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade.

"Oh! how our hearts do ache," the poem read. "When we think of how you died. To think we could not say good-bye, when you closed your eyes."

Photos and poems of heartfelt prose, published in local newspapers during World War I.
Photos and poems of heartfelt prose, published in local newspapers during World War I. Credit: PA

Private Harry Randall's family wrote in the Grantham Journal in 1917:

"His work is done, his toil is passed and he is fully blessed.

"He fought the fight, the victory won and entered into rest.

"But the hardest part is yet to come, when our heroes all return.

"And we miss, among the cheering crowds, the face of our own dear one."

Read: Ceremony to mark the arrival of WW1 sacred soil

Myko Clelland of Genes Reunited said: "Too often we read of the 16 million who tragically lost their lives during the Great War without really understanding the grief that families went through.

"These 'In Memoriam' poems bring home the pain and sorrow they experienced."

Read: Survey finds First World War knowledge lacking

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