Women put on a brave face

 

When waving off their menfolk women put on a brave face, but as these two verses of a poem by Miriam E Gladwell show, many a tear was shed at night in the privacy of their own bedroom:-

You came to me with your eyes ashine

With a soldierly, careless trend

In a khaki uniform so trim

And a new peaked cap on your head

I’m off to the front dear comrade mine and I’m jolly glad to go

But your lips were set in a line so grim

That bode ill for the foe

My fighting blood leaped up in pride

You looked so British, so grand

But my women’s heart was so vaguely stirred

As you heartily shook my hand

Stirred with a pain I struggled to hide

You were marching to glory – or death

And ‘twas only God that night who heard

The tears that were choking my breath

Miriam E Gladwell was a Ramsgate poet, well-known to the concert-going public in the town and district, who had made many successful appearances on the platform as an elocutionist of merit, and was always available for the organisers of charity events. In October 1916 the Thanet Advertiser published a book of her poems called “In War Time,” which was followed by another volume in December 1917. Miriam and her husband Charlie ran the Wellington Hotel in Ramsgate High Street. Her children Vincent and Miriam were the original Bisto kids designed in 1919 by the cartoonist Wilf Owen from Rochester who worked for a time for the East Kent Mercury newspaper.

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