Poet pens tribute to Larne World War One hero

Poet Gordon Simmonds. INLT-38-703-con
Poet Gordon Simmonds. INLT-38-703-con

An amateur poet has composed a book of tributes to a young Larne man who died on the first day of World War One’s Battle of Loos in 1915.

Gordon Simmonds wrote the poems dedicated to late 19-year old Thomas Finlay ahead of the 101st anniversary of the battle on September 25.

Gordon decided to write the poems after speaking to his late mother-in-law Mary Craig, who lived with Thomas Finlay’s family after his death.

“Thomas’ family lived in a farm house in Skeagh and he left at the age of 19 to join the war effort with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as his family was originally from Scotland,” he said.

“The Battle of Loos was one of the most awful battles of the war; there were 20,000 casualties in the first day alone and Thomas was one of them.

“He was a young man from a rural area and he died on his first day away from home. His body was never recovered for burial.”

After his mother-in-law requested that Gordon research Thomas’ history, his research gave him a glimpse of the young man’s heroic sacrifice.

“I feel very emotional about it,” Gordon continued.

“When you think of the war memorial at Knockagh there were tens of thousands of soldiers killed north and south.

“These young men volunteered thinking they would have fun and it wasn’t what they expected. My poems pay tribute to that sacrifice.”

War and Remembrance by Gordon J Simmonds is available on Kindle for £2.16.