Throughout our 100 Days of Vimy posts, we discussed the rise of war poetry and its use as a form of commemoration and mourning.The troops themselves were continuously writing their own poems and songs, often honouring respected leaders and lost friends. Conversely, there were also a great number written to humorously attack the military hierarchy or make light of the dismal life the men were now living. Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature some of the works from the troops. This week we share “Major Jack”, written for Lieutenant-Colonel John Edwards ‘Jack’ Leckie, of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish). Dashing, impulsive and thriving on action and adventure, one soldier said of Leckie: “We liked the way he talked, and the way he walked.” (Zuehlke, Brave Battalion, p. 83). “Major Jack” was first published in the 16th Battalion’s trench magazine, Brazier.
16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion
Come call your boys together,
They will follow to the death,
Where you lead them, when you need them,
For they know you’re tried and true,
And they’ll each along with you
Do their whack.
In your heart no thought of fear,
On your lips a word of cheer,
Ever ready, cool and steady,
(Zuehlke, Brave Battalion, p. 83)