The Old Oak Gate

Inspired by Norman Ogilvie in about 1957. Written by Stid’s Sister, Nona in March 1969. Incident prior to World War 1. A.V.L. “Stid” Hull.

There’s an old oak gate in a Boundary Fence

Still swinging faithfully,

Since the day it was hung by a back blocks lad

Who loved all that was fair and free.


And keen and clear was his gay young heart

As he felled the she-oak tree,

And keen and clear were the hand wrought tools

That he used so skillfully.


His neighbour rode by, on errand bent,

But cried as he went past,

“You’re building it solid, aren’t you mate?”

“Yes, I’m building it to last.”


An uneasy wind, as from fields of Mars,

Stirred in lands across the sea,

The war drums beat their relentless beat

in a harsh cacophony.


In those whom England’s blood ran free

The call for help came clear,

But lads who’d scarce known but a country school,

How could they know to hear?


A strange barracks life after family home,

A strange ship, a stranger sea,

The first hurdle in a hideous race

Was far Gallipolli


All joys and griefs of hearth and home

His mate returned to know,

Our lad lies but another name

At Vils ers Brettinoux.