SECOND LIEUTENANT ALLEN RHYS GRIFFITHS
ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
9TH AUGUST 1915 AGE 22
BURIED: RAMPARTS CEMETERY, LILLE GATE, YPRES, BELGIUM
Allen Rhys Griffith's inscription is a quotation from Death, Be Not Proud, Holy Sonnet 10 by John Donne (1572-1631).
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swellst thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Educated at Winchester College and commemorated on their website, Allen Rhys Griffiths was working on a tea plantation in Ceylon when the war broke out. He returned to Britain to volunteer in December 1914. Gazetted into the Royal Field Artillery in March 1915, he went out to France early in July and was killed the following month on 9 August 1915.
A Miss C. Griffiths confirmed his inscription. I would hazard a guess that she was a sister. His father had died in February 1919 and although mother was still alive it's Miss C. Griffiths of the Three Arts Club, Marylebone Road, London, who signed the form confirming the inscription. I wonder if his sister is the reason why Allen Rhys Griffith's original wooden cross hangs in the church in Wivelsfield, Sussex where neither Allen nor his parents ever appear to have lived.