Army Mom’s Safe Haven

Patrick MacGill
Patrick MacGill in his London Irish Rifles Uniform,
the same uniform that he wore while writing The Great Push


1889 - 1963

Upon the outbreak of war in August 1914,Patrick enlisted with The London Irish Rifles,Due to the success of his poetry collections but more especially the popularity of "Children of the Dead End", Patrick was already well known as "The Navvy Poet" at the time of his enlisting. While in France, Patrick contributed articles to The Daily Mail and other British newspapers. Patrick was invalided back to London in 1915 due to an injury recieved at the battle of Loos, and married Margeret Gibbons,the daughter of a Royal Irish Constabulary policeman. Margeret Gibbons was well connected in London society of the day ,and the Macgill's regularly appeared in the newspaper society columns of the time. They bought a house in Queens Road Hendon N.W.London which Patrick renamed St.Margarets in honour of his wife.

Photo and Information with thanks to the "Patrick MacGill" Website at


The firefly haunts were lighted yet,
As we scaled the top of the parapet;
But the east grew pale to another fire,
As our bayonets gleamed by the foeman's wire;
And the sky was tinged with gold and grey,
And under our feet the dead men lay,
Stiff by the loop-holed barricade;
Food of the bomb and the hand-grenade;
Still the slushy pool and mud -
Ah, the path we came was a path of blood,
When we went to Loos in the morning.

A little grey church at the foot of a hill,
With powdered glass on the window-sill -
The shell-scarred stone and the broken tile,
Littered the chancel, nave and aisle -
Broken the altar and smashed the pyx,
And the rubble covered the crucifix;
This we saw when the charge was done,
And the gas-clouds paled in the rising sun,
As we entered Loos in the morning.

The dead men lay on the shell-scarred plain,
Where Death and the Autumn held their reign -
Like banded ghosts in the heavens grey
The smoke of the powder paled away;
Where riven and rent the spinney trees
Shivered and shook in the sullen breeze,
And there, where the trench through the graveyard wound
The dead men's bones stuck over the ground
By the road to Loos in the morning.

The turret towers that stood in the air,
Sheltered a foeman sniper there -
They found, who fell to the sniper's aim,
A field of death on the field of fame;
And stiff in khaki the boys were laid
To the sniper's toll at the barricade,
But the quick went clattering through the town,
Shot at the sniper and brought him down,
As we entered Loos in the morning.

The dead men lay on the cellar stair,
Toll of the bomb that found them there.
In the street men fell as a bullock drops,
Sniped from the fringe of the Hulluch copse.
And the choking fumes of the deadly shell
Curtained the place where our comrades fell.
This we saw when the charge was done
And the east blushed red to the rising sun
In the town of Loos in the morning.

Written by Patrick MacGill - Loos, 1915