Richard, one of our volunteers, writes the following…
Sometimes we are asked to identify the source of inscription on war memorials: Rupert Brooke’s ‘red sweet wine of youth’ comes to mind.
I have been reading The Winter of the World: Poems of the First World War, the useful new anthology edited by Dominic Hibberd and John Onions and came across some familiar lines:
“All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave
To save Mankind- yourselves you scorned to save.”
They appear on 13 memorials on our database, and are from ‘The Supreme Sacrifice’, a hymn in the metre and rhyme scheme of ‘Abide with Me’ by J S (later Sir John) Arkwright (1872-1954). The editors comment that it was ‘regularly sung at Remembrance Day services – until the 1950s, when it began to be condemned as sentimental, even unchristian, for its implied faith in salvation by death in war.’