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Monday 2 June 2008

Grasmere lads & a poem by Rawnsley

I recently went round to have a coffee with a a guy I used to work with. Some years ago I helped him research a few details about a relative, Harry Smith, who was killed in the Great War and, as one does, we ended up chatting about my interest in memorials. Suddenly, he produced a copy of a photograph and a typescript copy of a poem.

The picture shows a bunch of Grasmere lads, probably around the time of August bank holiday 1914! As well as showing Harry Smith it also depicts Harry & Walter Hardisty, two of the sons of Henry & Mary Ann Hardisty of Turn How, Grasmere. Both were born in idyllic Buttermere. Five brothers would join the colours and two would die.

18781, Pte John Hardisty, 1st Battalion Border Regiment was the first to go, probably killed near Ypres on July 30, 1916. His name is on The Menin Gate.

16258 Sjt Joshua Hardisty, 11th (Lonsdale) Battalion Border Regiment followed him soon after. Aged 34 he was killed in the attack at Beaumont Hamel on The Somme, November 18, 1916. Awarded the Military Medal for gallantry, his body lies in Waggon Road Cemetery.

Maybe some Borderers out there can fill in the details.

At the time of the men's death Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley was living at Allen Bank, Grasmere. He was hugely important to The Lake District & The National Trust; a patriot and a poet! Following the death of Joshua he wrote a poem for the grieving mother ........

Not quite Shakespeare & Rawnsley's association with our fellside sheep is not of my doing! Hopefully you will be able to right click on the image to download and read the poem. If not then please email me for a copy. Not sure about copyright with these things, however.

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