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28 October 2014

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You are in: Black Country > Features > More features > My unknown soldier

Laura McLintic

Laura McLintic

My unknown soldier

Have a read through Laura McLintic's war poem - before she narrates it to The Queen!

The Battle of Passchendaele

The Battle of Passchendaele

Laura was inspired to write 'My Unknown Soldier' after a trip to the Flanders battlefield when she was 13.

She said: "We visited the cemetery and were given crosses to put on the graves of unknown soldiers. I used my birth date - June 21st - to chose grave 21 in the sixth row.

"I went back three years later and visited him again. I had thought about him in between visits and it prompted me to write the poem."

Now Laura is returning once more to the grave site to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele at Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ypres.

In 1917, the three month battle for the village of Passchendaele saw the Allies lose half a million men; the Germans 250,000.

Awful weather reduced the battlefield to a mud bath and the conflict is remembered as being emblematic of the horrors of industrialised warfare.

Battle of Passchendaele

1917 - Tyne Cot

Laura returns to the scene on 12th July 2007 to pay tribute by reading her poem - metres away from Her Majesty The Queen.

"I'm terrified!" joked Laura. "But I'm very proud and all my friends and family are very proud. It will be incredible to go back there."

My Unknown Soldier by Laura McLintic

Three years ago I found you,
In a most methodical way.
I'm glad to be here once again,
Just so that I can say:
Hello, my unknown soldier,
My comfort and my friend.
You are my continuity,
Though your life is at an end.
I'm sitting here and thinking
About the life you gave.
You fought for your people and country,
And now lie in your grave.

Battle of Passchendaele

Passchendaele - the horrors of war

While I've been living my busy life,
You've been sleeping on.
For three years you've been my influence
Even though you're dead and gone.
In these three years I've thought of you,
Lying there unknown;
A serendipity meeting,
And the friendship seeds are sown.
Although we know not of each other,
And I live in another land,
I see your face in times of trouble
And you, smiling, take my hand.

Many men have crosses
Or wreaths about their stone.
I place my simple cross,
So you'll never be alone.
So thank you, unknown soldier,
My comfort and my friend.
You will be my continuity,
Until my life is at an end.

last updated: 26/06/07

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