The Last Absolution of the Munsters at Rue Du Bois, by Fortunino Mattania, depicts an event which took place on 8th May 1915, near Neuve Chapelle.



The push for Aubers Ridge had been postponed

because of rain. But the Saturday

was dry and sunny. Going up the line

in the early evening, the battalion

stood easy at the shrine to Our Lady.

‘…in remissionem peccatorum…’

By noon, next day, nearly half were dead,

caught on the German wire Haig’s ill equipped

artillery had, once more, failed to cut.


In Mazingarbe, an industrial town

ten miles south, the British commandeered

the abattoir. The first to be shot at dawn

was a Munster regular from Cork.

‘…in nomine Patris…’




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  1. #1 by Alex Cox - November 22nd, 2012 at 19:13

    David, you are really on a roll. ALL this batch of poems are wonderful. Keep up the good work!

  2. #2 by The Inky Writer - December 12th, 2012 at 19:30

    I really like the opening lines – “The push for Aubers Ridge had been postponed because of the rain” – the awfulness of war alongside the humdrum everyday-ness of rain.

  3. #3 by Baranowski Casimir - May 25th, 2015 at 15:10

    I live in Mazingarbe, within 500 meters of the old abattoir, your poem moved me ………

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