In Memoriam

The Ayre Brothers

The burning tears are coursing down
A mother’s care-worn face,
The joy she felt a while ago
Today to grief gives place.
A father’s head is bowed in woe,
He sees in fancy’s glance
A lonely grave, in which his son
Lies, killed “somewhere in France”

Oh Father, who in Heaven reigns,
Send down Your balm to heal
The sorrow of those parents
Which today we know they feel.
Look on them with a pitying eye
For love of Your dear Son
Sustain them now to bear their loss
Until life’s race be run.

The Thebens in the days of old,
When aroused by mighty Mars.
Sent forth to battle from their gates
Two hundred chariot cars.
The Spartan mother gave her boy
A shield, and to him said,
“Return back this with victory,
Or come back on it dead.”

On such wealth as the ancient Thebes
Our Island do not live,
And unlike the Spartan mother,
Sure we had no sword to give,
But we gave “Our Boys” our blessing,
And we knew that they’d be true,
When in the fight for freedom
‘Neath the old red, white and blue.

They were four among that number,
That daring gallant band,
Whose names will be forever
Handed down in Newfoundland.
They will live in history’s pages,
And no name will shine more fair,
To be read down through the ages
Than the noble name of Ayre.

James Murphy
July 10, 1916


This poem was penned after the July 1st, 1916 battle that took place at Beaumont Hamel in memory of the four Ayre relatives from St. John’s that lost their lives that day. They were: L/Cpl Edward A. Ayre (#1009); Capt. Eric S. Ayre; 2nd Lieut. Gerald W. Ayre (#869) and 2nd Lieut. Wilfred D. Ayre (164).


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