PRIVATE FRANK PLOWS
DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY
25TH JUNE 1916 AGE 18
BURIED: BERTRANCOURT MILITARY CEMETERY, SOMME, FRANCE
This inscription comes from what was at one time an immensely popular song, The Trumpeter. Written and composed in 1904, it was a mainstay of many wartime concerts. Stirring without being patriotic, rousing without romanticising war, the song in fact declares that war is hell, although this line is often omitted in the recorded versions:
"There's a madd'nin' shout as the sabres flash out,
For I'm soundin' the 'Charge,' - no wonder!
And it's Hell!" said the Trumpeter tall.
The trumpeter sounds reveille in the first verse, the charge in verse two and the rally in the last verse. Splendidly sung in this YouTube version the final verse is hardly more than whispered:
Trumpeter, what are you sounding now?
(Is it the call I'm seeking?)
"Lucky for you if you hear it at all,
For my trumpet's but faintly speakin'.
I'm callin' 'em home - come home! come home!
Tread light o'er the dead in the valley,
Who are lyin' around face down to the ground,
And they can't hear me sound the 'Rally.'
But they'll hear it again in a grand refrain,
When Gabriel sounds the last 'Rally.'"
Eighteen-year old Frank Plows went to France with the 18th Battalion the Durham Light Infantry, the Durham Pals, in March 1916. He was killed on the 25 June, five days before the battalion went into action on the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916.