Lance Corporal Thomas Alfred Payne
He is commemorated on panel 50 of the Menin Gate Memorial and the Pontnewydd war memorial in Cwmbran, Torfaen, south Wales.
He was the son of Margaret Jane Pritchard (formerly Payne), of 2, Prospect Bungalows, Ashley Gardens, Pontnewydd, Newport, Monmouthshire.
A very touching war poem, written by his older brother, William, has been kindly donated for publication here.
Twas at the battle of Ypres,
My soldier brother fell,
He with the gallant Monmouths,
Undaunted faced that hell.
He enlisted in September,
The year nineteen fourteen,
Quite proud to be a soldier,
For his country, King and Queen.Away went he to the Recruiting Station,Resolved to doing his bit;
The doctor who examined him,
Said – ”Pass on. You’re fit.”
He donned the Khaki with a smile
To his mother said “I’ll be
A soldier of the King to fight,
For old England’s liberty.
Proud of him her soldier son,
His mother smiled – but sadly,
”Cheer up” said he ”do not fret
Old England needs me badly.”
Barely six months had elapsed,
Ere he was sent to France,
To meet his enemy the Hun,
Prepared to take his chance.
Day by day the trench he manned,
With comrades staunch and bold;
Ready ever only to face the foe,
Their ground to stand – to hold.
Shell after shell at them was hurled,
With its errand of death and destruction;
Into that line of precious life
Wrought havoc – a hideous reduction.
And now I tell of a soldier Brother,
Who fell in that great battle,
Ne’er again to arise and endure,
War’s awful din and rattle.
He played his part in that great drama,
A soldier, young, bold and brave,
But oh, how awful tis to think,
That he now lies in a soldier’s grave.
Now when this War of Wars is over,
When the boys march home again,
We behold on many a feature,
A look of anguish – of pain.
Then please dear reader, please excuse,
The humble way I’ve told the story;
Of a dear brother whom we must hope,
Now wears his Crown of Glory.
W. G. Payne
Notes and Acknowledgements:-
- The photograph of Lance Corporal Thomas Payne and his brother’s poem were found during research by a local man, investigating the involvement of his great, great uncle in the First World War. Permission has been given for his findings to appear on this site.
- Photograph restored by me with Adobe Photoshop.