LIEUTENANT HERBERT HAWORTH
THE LOYAL NORTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT
7TH JUNE 1917 AGE 26
BURIED: KLEIN-VIERSTRAAT BRITISH CEMETERY, BELGIUM
These words form the last line of each of the three verses of Sir Henry Newbolt's poem 'Vitai Lampada'. This is the torch of life, which each generation nurtures before passing it on to the next, its flame intact. The flame is nurtured by each person playing his part, playing the game, to the benefit the whole team, regiment or country.
Massively popular in its day, the poem has come in for much subsequent ridicule, particularly for its second verse:
The sand of the desert is sodden red, -
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'
The words don't mean that war is a game, they were simply a colloquial way of saying, do what you know to be right for the greater good not for yourself. As an inscription the meaning is to those still living to take up the torch the dead have dropped and carry on playing the game. Haworth's father chose it.
Haworth, the son of a Blackpool saddler, served with the 8th Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. On 6 June 1917, the battalion took part in the attack on the Messines Ridge, which followed the explosion of several large mines.