The Ballad of Beaumont-Hamel

(Ode To “The Caribou” Regiment)

 

Charlie was a ‘fishin-by,’

from the nor’wester shore

Not the kind of ‘fightin lad,”

that one would choose for war.

But, when the call ‘To Arms!’ was heard,

it stirred him to the core.

So off he went, hell bound and bent -

to blood and guts and gore.

 

Now Billy was the hunter type,

an inland sort of guy.

A huntin’-trappin’ outdodor kid,

his roof the open sky.

So when he heard his country call,

he did not question: Why?

He simply chose go give ‘his all’ -

no thought that he might die.

 

Now some may say ‘coincidence,’

while others ‘just by chance.’

No matter which may be the case,

both b’ys were now in France.

Uneasy Charlie Beaumont now,

far from coastal sea,

And anxious Billy Hamel set,

in search of ‘enemy’.

 

Full half-way through this fateful war,

mid-summer of the year;

the Western Front was falling fast,

called units from the rear.

July the first to be exact

dispatches would record,

the year was nineteen ten and six

the birthday of our Lord

 

This regiment of briney bys

of Eighty-Eight brigade

were chosen to ‘fill up the ranks’

and come to allied aid

Eight hundred strong and sturdy mates,

their country there to serve,

unto the death, if that need be,

with grit and pride and nerve

 

In their trench called St. John’s Road,

they huddled side by each

‘Cod catchers,” at another time,

could use a swig of screech.

In putties ‘blue,’ ‘The Caribou’

all trained and strained for fight.

The novice newfie ‘Number One;

knew not their fate and plight.

 

That night their last upon this earth,

they passed in song and cheer,

I said, ‘me prayers’ was one report,”

while others had a beer.

Beyond a shallow valley lay,

a village stood near by

Beaumont Hamel was the name

where our two lads would die.

 

Was just past nine that awful day;

Ar bys charged at the foe.

Mid-German fire and tangle wire,

assembled row on row.

Exposed and trapped in ‘no mans land’,

few reached ‘the danger tree.’

Yet none would breach that Prussian line,

brought down to bended knee.

 

So short a time, just minutes passed,

did that engagement end.

When carnage ceased and death won out,

a hill of vanquished dead.

Two thirds of one whole regiment,

were sacrificed that day.

“Annihilation” was the term,

when news back home was read.

 

So now their story has been told

of ar bys and the Hun.

Of Charlie, Billy and the rest,

no chance to fire a gun.

Lest we forget the fate they met,

away beyond the sea,

they gave their all, prepared to fall,

for such as you and me.

 

George Borden

April 2012