SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN LODGE
ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
18TH MARCH 1918 AGE 30
BURIED: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY, BELGIUM
John Lodge's inscription comes from Herbert Asquith's poem, The Volunteer, which he wrote two years before the outbreak of war but which is always assumed to have been written after it.
Asquith writes of "a clerk who half his life had spent, toiling at ledgers in a city grey". As he worked at his books, his ledgers, the clerk assumed his life would drift away, "with no lance broken in life's tournament". Yet he cannot rid his mind of romantic images of war:
The gleaming eagles of the legions came,
And horsemen, charging under phantom skies,
Went thundering past beneath the oriflamme.
But then his life changes and the chance of war does come and the clerk is killed.
And now those waiting dreams are satisfied
From twilight to the halls of dawn he went;
His lance is broken; but he lies content
With that high hour, in which he lived and died.
John Lodge, the son of Adam, a railway signalman, and his wife Phoebe was not a clerk but a Post Office letter sorter. He enlisted in September 1915 and served originally as a bombardier in the Royal Artillery, rising through the ranks until he was commissioned in July 1917. In March 1918 he was with the 190th Siege Battery when he died of wounds at a Casualty Clearing Station in Lijssenthoek. His mother signed for his inscription.
The poem concludes:
And falling this, he wants no recompense,
Who found his battle in the last resort
Nor needs he any hearse to bear him hence,
Who goes to join the men of Agincourt.