John Maxwell Edmonds epitaphs to the fallen in battle

Can’t quite recall the ‘googling’ sequence on how I arrived at information about John Maxwell Edmonds (21 January 1875 – 18 March 1958) an English classical scholar, poet, and dramatist. Edmonds is notable as the creator of celebrated epitaphs for those who died in battle.

Edmonds epitaphs were written during World War 1 for use on graves and memorials. The most famous being the Kohima epitaph, used on the memorial to the fallen in the battle of Kohima in World War 2.

When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today.

This epitaph is regularly heard at remembrance day services. Edmonds wrote other epitaphs, and this next one is new to me.

Went the day well?
We died and never knew.
But, well or ill,
Freedom, we died for you.

I like the language he used, and that it gives purpose to death, in the sacrifice to protect freedom. It mightn’t scan as well as the Kohima epitaph, it’s just as powerful in its sentiment.

Hat tip: Wikipedia entry on John Maxwell Edmonds.

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