the anxieties of millions…

Colin Keith

Doting Mother
Stalwart Father
Insistent Son

Permission given
to end the life
of one so young

Anguished hearts
and anxious minds
are traumas of home

Fickle fate,
is it too late?
We yearn for peace

This poem was written as a response to a letter from my Great Grandfather to his son, giving him permission to enlist, which was required because he was under 21 years of age.

24th June 1918

My Dear Douglas,

Mother and I are now willing that as you are still in the mind to enlist you should do so and are proud that you feel impelled to take this step although we much regret the necessity of your doing so.

Believe me that we feel very much in the matter that it is very difficult to express in a letter but we cannot ask you to hold back when you see your duty to be to take your share in upholding the honour of your country in the battlefield and we must share the anxieties of millions of other parents whose children have been gone for years.

Let us know as soon as possible what arrangements you make.

I remain
Your loving father
F.V. Keith

The letter was found on the National Archives of Australia – Discovering Anzacs website. It was part of the military record of KEITH Douglas Francis: Service Number – 58357 (Keith, 1918)