LANCE CORPORAL THOMAS JAMES WATTERS BLYTH
ARGYLL & SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS
28TH MAY 1918 AGE 22
BURIED: LOUEZ MILITARY CEMETERY, DUISANS, FRANCE
Both yesterday and today's inscriptions begin with the single word 'gone' but there the similarity ends. Sergeant Woodnoth's parents have lost their only child and their inscription is bleak - 'Gone/and the light/of all our life/gone with him' - Lance Corporal Blyth's, using the high diction of John Oxenham's poem Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith) projects pride .
The poem was included in Oxenham's collection, The Fiery Cross, published in 1918 for 'all who feel the vital need for a return to God and a higher spiritual life throughout the world'. Blyth's inscription comes from the first verse:
Gone! in the unutterable splendour
Of your immortal youth!
Gone unto Him who made, and making gave you
Passion for truth;
Made you heart-bold to brave the wrath
Of this world's evil;
Thomas Blyth served with the 7th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was in France by 15 December 1914. He was killed in the trenches on 28 May 1916 when at "1.4 am enemy exploded a mine in front of battn on our left. Heavy bombardment followed till 2.30 am. Casualties, killed 5 OR, wounded 6 OR".
Blyth's inscription was chosen by Nurse BM Blyth, Eastern District Hospital, Duke St, Glasgow. I think this was probably one of his sisters. The family came from Crook of Devon, Kinross and on the Roll of Service in the Crook of Devon Institute a Nurse Bessie Blyth is listed as serving at Crookston War Hospital, as is Lance Corporal TJW Blyth.