A booklet of first and second world war poetry is in the process of being published from poems by local residents that were featured in the Ilkley Gazette.  It is a 75 page booklet in A5 size and features 60 poems, in total, 30 from each war and is available for £5. The Foreward from this booklet is as follows:

Poetry was a regular inclusion in many issues of the Ilkley Gazette during both World Wars. I have decided that some of this poetry needs to be read by a wider audience today for a greater appreciation of what the war meant to civilians and soldiers alike. In many issues, appeared poems by local people often with initials and the name of the place in the Ilkley district from where the people originated. Some were written from trenches, desert, jungles, land and sea and a few were written by aircrew and sent by their loving families to the Ilkley Gazette offices.

The topics covered in the poems covered life, death, dreams, love, the places where they lived, and in a number of cases expressing their adoration of the beauty of Ilkley & Wharfedale. I hope all the readers will share their views with of other lovers of poetry and help them to understand more fully the impact of both wars on the Ilkley populace. I wish to thank Newsquest (Yorkshire and North East) Ltd, various editors and all the staff in the Ilkley Gazette office in Wells Road over the three years of undertaking archival research from the original papers. I also wish to thank Tim Howson (www.olicanait.co.uk) from Ben Rhydding who has in a very effective and painstaking way word processed the collection of a varying quality of poems, for the purposes of digitisation. Copyright is almost impossible to credit due to most of the poems just penned by the author’s initials (male and female!).

Readers will note that some of the words are printed in American English, this has been left as published in the Ilkley Gazette.

Richard Thackrah (timh/ilkleyinwartime.com) 

Below is an example of one of the poems from the booklet:


The charge it was ended;
The Battle was won,
Some girl lost a sweetheart;
Some mother a son,
Sadly we heard of a comrade who fell,
For the honour of England,
At the fight of Neuve Chapelle.


There’s honour been won
In that glorious light,
There’s lads who have died,
For the cause of the right,
Twas a price to be paid, and the Germans knew well,
For the cold blood they shed,
At the fight of Neuve Chapelle.


We fell in for the roll call,
At the close of the fight;
And some of us there
Made a piteous sight.
Some never answered, so well knew quite well
That they had fallen like heroes,
In the fight of Neuve Chapelle.


Some homes will be lonely,
Some mother’s heart sad;
Some lass will be weeping,
For her soldier lad,
Who died in the battle for his country
he fell,
Defending his home
At the fight of Neuve Chapelle.

If you are interested in one of these booklets please contact Richard Thackrah using the following contact form:

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