GUNNER HARRY SAMPSON SAMPSON
AUSTRALIAN FIELD ARTILLERY
1ST OCTOBER 1917 AGE 23
BURIED: THE HUTS CEMETERY, YPRES, BELGIUM
The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) is the author of a surprising number of headstone inscriptions of which this is one. It comes from his poem, Resignation, composed following the death of his daughter Fanny. Longfellow holds out the consolation that "oftentimes celestial benedictions
assume this dark disguise", and what seem to us "but sad, funereal tapers
may be heaven's distant lamps".
There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.
It is in the 'life elysian'
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead.
Harry Richards was a gunner serving with the 46th Battery 12th Australian Field Artillery Brigade at Zillebeke when he was killed near the Menin Road. A witness told the Red Cross Enquiry Bureau:
"He was dark, cleanshaven, slim, about 5'6", and about 21 or 22. He was killed whilst mending our telephone wire on 1st Oct. on the Passchendaele front. I was told this by Sig. Norman Potts, who was with him at the Dickebusch and a cross put over his grave."
Richards' South Australian Division Red Cross file can be read here. Unusually, it not only names his mother as his next-of-kin, but also his fiancee, Miss Doris Baldwin.