From Constance to Châteaux-d’Oex – Poem by Corporal Skeels

From Constance to Châteaux-d’Oex
(dedicated to the British Colony in Switzerland)

On August 12th, at Constance
Just beyond the boundary line,
British soldiers, sick and wounded,
Wearily did pass the time.

For exchange they all are waiting,
To the freedom of the Swiss;
All their thoughts are concentrated
On that Land of Health and Bliss.

Lo, the German guards are leaving,
Rifles they unloaded are, –
And with steps they think so stately
They go marching by our car.

The whistle sounds, – the train is moving
Banished now all fear and care,
As we hear the smiling people
Shouting: “Vive l’Angleterre!”

On we go, each little station
Cheers us on with joyous song,
But at Zurich on the platform
Numberless now seems the throng.

Soon our car is strewn with roses,
Presents rain on us so fast,
That we think in pleasant places
We have cast our lines at last.

Once again our train is moving,
Through this land of Liberty,
And the welcome we are getting
Seems a dream that cannot be.

At Berne large crowds are waiting
British soldiers for to see, –
And with kindness overloaded
We are marched along to tea.

Lausanne too I must mention,
Of their kindness you must hear,
And the British Tommies thank them
For the Welcome bright and clear.

Montreux ends our railway journey,
But our wildest guess is low
Of the welcome that is waiting
As we down the steps do go.

“Be Prepared,” (the Boy-Scouts’ motto),
“Do a good turn if you can”
Was excelled that Sunday morning;
We salute them to a man!

British faces, English language,
Make us think of Home, Sweet Home,
And the memory of that morning
Will live, where’er we roam.

Flags and flowers stream from windows,
Cheers are given with right good will
As we leave the town of Montreux
For our journey up the hill.

Scouts are waiting with their bugles,
And salute us on our way,
Till at last, our journey, ended,
We arrive at Château d’Oex.

Health and comfort now await us,
And our earnest wish is this;
“That the glorious Flag of Freedom
Long may wave o’er loyal Suisse!”