Image of Councillor Martin Veal unveiling plaque on Guildhall staircase

Guildhall plaque commemorates World War One Centenary

On Remembrance Day 2014 a new plaque was unveiled at Bath's Guildhall to commemorate the Centenary of the start of the First World War, in memory of those who served.

The ceremony was led by the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Councillor Martin Veal, who was wearing a specially commissioned sash featuring knitted poppies made by Emma Leith and Rosie Wilkes.  Crochet and knitted poppies made by Emma, Rosie and other local knitters decorated the Guildhall staircase for the occasion.

Year 6 pupils from St Stephen's Primary School read a selection of poems they had written about 'The Unknown Soldier'.  Everyone present was very impressed with the sensitivity with which the children had composed their poems, and the confidence of the readings. All of the poems written by Sebastian, Annabel, Marianne, Maya, Eva, Felix, Gracie, Keira, Kora, Matilda, Olivia, Sam, Wilf and Louis can be read below.

The ceremony also included music - a recording of the song 'Do you recall, the War to end all war? ', written by Bath & North East Somerset Councillor Bryan Chalker and set to music by Tony Renney. 

The commemorative plaque can be viewed on the main staircase during normal Guildhall opening hours.

Poems by year 6 pupils at St Stephen's School

The Unknown Soldier

His head was pounding with pride,

As the flags waved goodbye,

His heart was rapidly beating,

He was expecting to become a hero.

With eyes of tears he fought the war,

Wasting his life in devastation,

As the bugles called, his courage took over,

Clambering over a wasteland of wire,

Murky deaths surrounded him,

He thought to himself: Hell could not be this bad.

Rows upon rows of crosses,

Each dancing poppy is special,

Representing unlucky souls,

Their dream was to resurrection in peace,

And he is amongst them,

Resting in silence forever.

By Sebastian, 3rd October 2014

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The Unknown Soldier

Barely sixteen

Lost in a sea of soldiers

Hypnotised by cheering crowds

And thoughts of medals

Ordinary people explode into heroes


Again lost in a sea of soldiers

His face as pale as a ghost

Lit up by flashes of endless shells

Which screamed in fear of the night

His eyes reflected horror

Swords glinted like diamonds

Peering over the wall of hell

This hero fell

Silence fell with snow

He lay still as his soul watched from above

Sleeping with peaceful poppies

This hero now rests

His life for his country

A country for his life

By Annabel

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The soldier

Happy soldiers marched out to their deaths

A young, smiling face, with no idea of his fate

The smell of death was in the air

As he fought to stay alive

His feet drenched in muddy water

Riderless horses galloped through the wasteland

Reflected in his tearful eyes

Waiting, just waiting for the order to go

A sudden pain through a broken heart

He felt the world go blank around him

He was gone before he hit the snow

Which lay peacefully, covering the horror beneath

A field of poppies on a warm summer night

The home of countless lost heroes

And as the bugle sounded

One poppy remembers

And sways in the breeze

For him

By Marianne

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The Unknown Soldier

From a boy to a man

He stood tall and proud

The flags waved him off with a cheer

To the tunnels of hell

That can only lead to death

Orders were barked

Replies came from trembling lips

The ladder waited in horror

Into no man’s land he went

Which stood like a wasteland

The mud swallowed his feet

Effortlessly, he fell

Christmas day unfolded

Gentle snow fell like fragments of peace

Nobody fired

This day was for mankind… for love

He was not there

Hymns are sung now

Poppies fall in silence

He listens to the song of life

His memory still hears the cries of the guns

He stands taller and glows with pride

He is to us ‘The Unknown Soldier’

Let us remember him

By Maya

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The Unknown Soldier

Ink, like blood, scratched the paper

As he signed up for death.

Fear ripped at his heart,

As flags waved a sad farewell.

Once loved, now unfamiliar with the word,

Shells cascaded like a waterfall of hatred

Bayonets pierced unwilling hearts.

The dead littered like rubbish

He returned with no voice, the story locked inside forever 

A war that seemed never ending

Is now marked by poppy petals descending.

By Eva

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The Unknown Soldier

Union Jacks wave farewell.

He holds his high

And heads off to France.

Dreaming of being a hero.

Shells violently scream at him.

Guns spit bullets at him.

Ladders wait at their feet.

He waits for the order.

Bayonet fixed, he used

The blade on boys whose

Faces were just as scared.

Fear drove him on to his death.

As each body fell, a poppy grew.

One stands out.

It belongs to ‘the unknown soldier’

By Felix 

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The Unknown Soldier

Images of crisp uniform, smiling and presents

He thought he would be a hero

One lie changed many

An unknown darkness waited

Every corner, a dead end 

Every ladder, a death wilderness

The ominous symphony of bagpipes

Lost among the battle cries of war

Tunnels of death filled with defeat

Mud and cold devouring souls

Endless shrieking shells

Guns wailing for more bullets

Barbed wire reflecting horror in unknown eyes,

Eyes were pure danger, burning danger

Silent flakes of death came,

A blanket of white over desolation

One lone soldier rises from silence.

By Gracie

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Nobody doubted his lie,

It gave him joy and pride

A smile crept from his lips

As all he had known

Waved him goodbye

Eyes that were once full of laughter

Now dull and mournful

The pounding fear in his heart

Reflected the shells, which rained.

He sat bent in fear

In the tunnels of death.


To climb Jacobs ladder

Leading to heaven and hell.

The orders rang out

He dived over the top

One single bullet, among the thousands

Found its target

And… the Unknown Soldier fell.

Still no silence, never silence

But a hundred years on

His poppy floats down, again and again

Now in silence.

By Keira

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The Unknown Soldier

I lied …

So willing to join,

For smart uniforms and glistening swords.

We left confident and proud,

Our heads held high,

With thoughts of returning as heroes.

Ladders to hell stood before me,

Waiting for orders …

I was white with fear.

As I quietly fell the noise faded,

My soul left me, alone.

In a grave I lie,

Surrounded by friends.

The rows of white crosses,

Only some with names.

I’m peaceful now as the poppies dance,

For the proud soldiers who lay under them.

By Kora

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The Unknown Soldier

The pen in his hand, waiting to sign up.

The sun glowed on smart uniforms and

His badge gleamed with pride.

The Union Jack waved him goodbye.

He dreamed of returning a hero, 

He was ready

The glow worms shone like a thousand stars, lighting the terror of the trenches.

Tortured eyes stared at the ladders.

He ran screaming to hide his fear

Bitten by barbed wire.

The guns spat out their bullets.

It only took one.

Eyes now blank, only seeing darkness.

His ears no longer heard the screaming shells.

The silent snow fell over a lifeless hero.

Petals now fall to remember him,

And lost souls left among dancing poppies, across the sea.

By Matilda

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Proud cheers for the new born heroes

Their faces lit with pride.

Flags and family waved farewell 

And joyful bands filled the sky.

The doors of horror opened

To reveal the ‘proper’ war.

The ongoing screams of shells

He could find no voice to match them

Teeth clenched he made the run

But never made it home. 

His friends who followed never caught up.

Life crumbled through his trembling fingers

Black sorrow curled around him

His last sunset disappeared

He lay lifeless.

Endless rows of crosses now

Silhouettes on a French horizon.

One single poppy still dances

To remember him.

By Olivia

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Bellowing bands played to the marching feet

He looked so proud in his uniform

His happy beam reassured everyone

The sun bounced off his badges so proud…too proud

Shell fire illuminated the misty night

Blood like ink splattered the body littered ground

Bullets rained down like hail and the billowing smoke blotted out the moon

The barbed wire raked out the souls of fallen heroes

Their open glassy eyes stared out into the open as if wondering what their graves would look like

Haunted thoughts of lost minds floated around aimlessly

Death hung in the air

The soft snow fluttered lightly to rest fallen men

He was at hell’s mercy

There was no way back 

He screamed in defiance but not for long

The enemy silenced him

He sleeps now with his friends

Greeted with a new life

Free among the poppies.

By Sam

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The Unknown Soldier

His badge glistened in the bright, morning sun

Reflecting proud and jolly hearted men

He went from nought, then without a doubt

He became a saviour of England!

Threw away his life, for a lie,

Threw away his life, for a dare.

His badge, shone again 

Reflecting the flash from a shell

Humanity was lost; replaced by guns and bayonets.

Home now a distant memory.

A fragment of his imagination.

Rats moved, faintly visible by the light of a lone lamp,

Dread of no-mans-land terrorised dreams by night.

As the bagpipes played they sung out death,

The world turned to hell, the ladder was the path.

Petrified, he raised his head

Up and over,  running past fallen souls

Was he to join them? 

He fell, he could not rise

He glanced down at his leg,

Saw nothing.

Someone tried to help

But the enemy had not a flaw,

His last sight, a machine gun spitting bullets.

If only he’d known:

So many men make an army,

So many poppies make a field.

By Wilf 

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The Unknown Soldier

The sun smiled in a crystal blue sky

As he marched off to France a hero

He knew nothing!

Horror struck as cruelly as the bullets

The bellowed orders

His foot on the rung

Up and over he went

And looked out into hell

They charged…

He fell and never moved again

And from him a poppy was born

When the petals fall in silence

One of them falls for me

By Louis

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