Monday, 21 April 2008

John Condon

One of the tracks on the Flossie Malavialle widget is 'John Condon' and here is a bit of information about him ...

The youngest soldier to be killed in the Great War of 1914-18 was No. 2622 Private John Condon, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment and came from Waterford in Ireland. Like a quarter of a million other boy soldiers from all over the British Isles, John was underage. He arrived at the Western Front in March 1915 and two short months later he was dead. Killed in a German Gas attack at a place called Mouse Trap Farm near Ypres, Belgium on the 24th of May, a day they say when a greenish yellow mist crept from the German lines with deadly poison. John's grave is in Poelcapple Military Cemetery and is now reputedly the most visited grave on the entire Western Front for obvious reasons. There, amongst thousands of white headstones, there is usually an array of poppies, flags and wooden crosses around the final resting place of young John Condon and a gravestone that says it all.

2622 Pte. J. Condon, 14 years old

Even today, in Waterford City, John Condon's memory is largely forgotten and recent attempts to erect a monument to his memory were met with opposition from some who still cannot see fit to remember those Irishmen who died wearing a British uniform.

The lyrics of the song are printed below:

"John Condon"
Just a day, another day beneath the Belgian sun
Past grave on grave, row on row until I see the name John Condon
carved in stone, the harp and crown, little crosses in the ground
and standing there, my silent prayer is for a boy who died a soldier
Wee lad who'll not grow old. Heroes that don't come home
Here they lie in Belgian fields and Picardy
Just a recruit in soldier's boots
from Ireland's shores to here this living hell. This Poelcapelle.
Where young men fell like you, John Condon
and all around the harp and crown, the crosses in the ground stand up in proof,
the bitter truth, the waste of youth that lies forgotten
wee lad who'll not grow old. Heroes that don't come home
Here they lie in Belgian fields and Picardy
Now tell me John, before I go on. What did you come here for?
with Ireland's bold, your life untold, 14 years old - to die a soldier?
and all around the harp and crown and crosses in the ground
what caused was served? So undeserved!
Heroes that don't come home. Sing out for all their souls
here they lie in Belgian fields, and Picardy.

©Laird/Starrett/McRory 2001