Albert Alexander Lyons
Some lines inspired by a visit to my uncle’s grave in France on 11th September 2014.
Albert Alexander Lyons left home to join the South Irish Horse regiment in Dublin on 5th August 1914 just four months after his 18th birthday. He died from illness contracted on active service in March 1915 and it was 99 years before a member of his family managed to visit his final resting place in France.
At St. Sever cemetery near Rouen
The chalk-white head- stones stand in a sea of ordered rows.
In silence, each one marks the final resting place
Of soldiers from that area or of those who died nearby.
On the 5th of August 1914, Albert left his boyhood home
Just one day after joining up in Oughterard.
Like all the rest who set off to go to war,
He believed he’d be home again for Christmas.
A Christmas card arrived all right to wish his parents well
And then, in March, the dreaded telegram with news of his demise.
He had gone to join his twin, young Arthur James,
Who he – at just three months – would have never known.
On that chalk-white Portland stone,
His name and regiment appear with age nineteen
And down below the words by someone chosen,
“Lift up O Lord each mourner’s heart our feeble faith sustaining.”
In intervening years of ninety-nine he had not grown old
But lay in wait for a first family member
To find his grassy grave on a warm sunny day in September
And there to leave behind a horse – shoe brought from home
Like those, as Shoeing Smith, on anvil, he had so often sized and shaped.
“710 Shoeing Smith Albert Alexander Lyons South Irish Horse 13th March 1915 Age 19. “