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Next Tuesday is Poppy Day when lots of people will wear a flower in memory of British and Irish soldiers who were killed fighting in the Great War.

Next Tuesday is Poppy Day when lots of people will wear a flower in memory of British and Irish soldiers who were killed fighting in the Great War.

The Irish gave a fine account of themselves in the battle.

It is generally acknowledged that perhaps one of the bravest actions of the war was that of Sergeant Mike O'Leary from Tipperary who, almost single-handed, secured the capture of three German trenches.

Altogether we won 34 Victoria Crosses, the highest award for bravery.

The war produced a number of fine poets, such as Rupert Brooke and Julian Grenfell - who found splendour in the conflict - and others like Private Wilfred Gibson and Siegfried Sassoon, who wrote about the horror of it.

Siegfried Sassoon was within a whisker of the Victoria Cross, but was awarded the lesser DSO instead, and Wilfred Gibson was an idealistic middle-class soldier who refused, out of principle, to take a commission and served throughout the war as a private.

Both Sassoon and Gibson detested the war they were fighting in, which they felt had got out of control.

To my mind these two were the finest English war poets. Sassoon named his poem almost ironically They, and Gibson called his Breakfast, which the soldier never got to have.


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