Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

Tag Archives Allies


The Tiber’s olive waters curve past

Umbertide or, rather, the town curves

to the river in this limpid valley

alive with oak trees, willows, poplars

and millennia of settlements,

monuments – Etruscan, Roman, Lombard.


To impede the German’s retreat northwards,

the Allies bombed the bridge across the river

successfully and, collaterally,

razed a block of tall, narrow houses –

and many of their inhabitants.


The house numbers are brass inlaid in the setts

of what is now a car park in this

medieval town with its Via Papa

Giovanni XXIII,



The Allies were waiting to go over the top

to attack a weak enemy position.

The British used gas for the first time.

Unfortunately, after a half an hour,

the wind changed and it all blew back

over the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

Unsurprisingly, the men were distressed.

Lieutenant Young called out, “Pipe them together,

Laidlaw, for God’s sake, pipe them together.”

And the forty year old veteran climbed

the ladder, tuned his pipes and marched back and fore

along the parapet,