LIEUTENANT JOHN RIGGALL BLAIR
AUSTRALIAN FLYING CORPS
26TH JANUARY 1918 AGE 26
BURIED: BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
These are the last lines of Henry Newbolt's poem 'Clifton Chapel'. They are not quoted from an ancient Latin author, Newbolt wrote them himself. The words translate as, 'Who died before his time - but a soldier, but for his country.' In the poem, published in 1898, a new boy at his father's old school is shown, by his father, the school chapel and encouraged to embrace the Christian and chivalric codes that constitute the public school ethos. Pointing out a brass memorial plaque on the Chapel wall, the father implies that there can be no purer following in life than to be a soldier who is prepared to die for his country. The last verse reads:
God send you fortune: yet be sure,
Among the lights that gleam and pass,
You'll live to follow none more pure
Than that which glows on yonder brass.
'Qui procul hinc', the legend's writ, -
The frontier grave is far away -
'Qui ante diem periit:
Sed miles, sed pro patria.