Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Thursday, 8 November 2018


The Battle of the Somme, and particularly the bloody first day with its appalling loss of nearly 60,000 British troops, stands out as one of the most infamous in the history of the British Army.
The 36th (Ulster) Division alone lost more than 2,000 men that day and commemoration of their blood sacrifice has been an intrinsic part of Ulster loyalist tradition ever since. 
The Division's insignia was the Red Hand of Ulster.


July 1, 1916.

What mad, fierce courage, what death-knell
drew them, against all common sense,
into the Pit of No Man’s Land,
the bloody butcher-shop of Hell,
into the waiting German guns?
What chinless imbecile’s command
led them to mount a flawed offense
on the entrenched, awaiting Huns?  

We can but hope adrenaline,
an end to fearful waiting and
the shouts of comrades by their side,   
benumbed them when their frail, pale skin      
was shredded by machine-gun flak
as blood-companions fell and died.   
What chinless imbecile’s command
launched them but could not bring them back?

They fell, those gallant men, that day
in thousands and in thousands, died.
The streets and farms of Ulster wept,
a generation passed away,
and only names engraved in stone
remind us that a pledge was kept.
In war, the lowly must provide
a sacrifice in blood and bone.

A century has passed, the fields
of northern France are lush and green.
Life hurries on. The past is past
yet every year the tilled earth yields
war artifacts and, in a sense,    
awareness of the unsurpassed 
insanity of that obscene 
misjudgment and its consequence.

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