“Bravo, ye sons of Belgium”

Local sympathy for Belgium’s plight was expressed in a variety of ways, including literary…

Crabtree, Charles

Charles CRABTREE, known locally as ‘the Grove poet’, of 14 Guildford Road, Tunbridge Wells, a retired draper and house agent, originally from Yorkshire, via Hastings, and a regular contributor of verse to the local press, composed the following poem which was published in the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser of Friday 28th August 1914 :

To Belgium 

Bravo, ye sons of Belgium,
Who checked the tyrant's course;
Ye bade defiance to his hordes,
A ruthless, devilish force.

Checkmated by your valiant King,
The boaster's plans upset,
His eye upon your sister, France,
He has not got there yet.

We see your homesteads now destroyed,
We hear your cry afar;
Your bloodstained fields of corn laid low
By this infernal war.

But all the world is looking on
In praise of Belgia's deeds,
And will not fail to comfort you
And help to meet your needs.

Let England's purse-strings now once more
Be loosed to help our friends,
Whose deeds are ringing round the earth,
And try to make amends.

To succour those whose homes are lost,
Widows and crippled sons,
The victims of the Kaiser's pride
And his destructive guns.

Let every home in England
Send contributions soon
For countless crying children
Now waiting for your boon.