Remembrance poems in full that honour the fallen

Remembrance each year honours the members of the Armed Forces who have served their country and pays respects to the fallen who have given their lives in defence of our democratic freedoms.

The nation's traditional, favourite poems for Remembrance are recited each year as part of the commemorative services.

Poetry is one of the many forms of expression that the nation turns to as we reflect on the sacrifice made in the defence of our way of life.

Here we look at some of the most poignant poems that regularly feature in the commemorations for Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

These are some of traditional, and not so traditional, poems in full.

These can be recited as the nation pauses to honour the fallen, or simply read as part of your own personal reflection as we remember the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and Allied nations who have fought together over the years, from the First and Second World Wars, to more recent conflicts.

There are many poems that sit well with acts of Remembrance but here we feature some of the most popular, with a new addition to the list.

In Flanders Fields - John McCrae

Perhaps the most quoted poem on war, In Flanders Fields was first published in December 1915 after it was penned by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae during the First World War.

After appearing in London’s Punch magazine, it soon become a popular reflection on the sacrifice of war.

McCrae's focus was on the peace that follows death, from the perspective of fallen soldiers lying in their graves.

McCrae saw action in the First World War and supervised medical care in Boulogne with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

In Flanders Field poem graphic. BFBS copyright

For The Fallen – Laurence Binyon

A poignant poem often recited for Remembrance, For The Fallen, otherwise known as the Ode of Remembrance, was written shortly after the Battle of Marne.

While inspired by the terrors of World War One, and composed specifically in honour of the casualties of the British Expeditionary Force in the initial stages of the war on the Western Front, the poem’s emotive fourth stanza, and perhaps the fifth, is now widely cited as a reflection of the sacrifices of all wars and a tribute to all casualties of war.

For The Fallen poem graphic. BFBS copyright

The Soldier – Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier is another of the nation’s favourite reflections on the sacrifice of those who go to war.

Brooke enlisted in August 1914 at the outbreak of war – sailing with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in February 1915. However, he developed sepsis from an infected mosquito bite while on a ship on its way to the battle at Gallipoli. He died on April 23, 1915.

His poem, The Soldier, was part of a series of war sonnets – this being the finale and examining the death and achievements of a soldier, whose memoirs declare that his sacrifice would be the eternal ownership of England in whatever land his body is laid to rest.

The Soldier Poem graphic. BFBS.

Remembered Still Those Souls – Ernie Rowe

The traditional poems based on the experiences of the First World War tend to be the ones the nation turns to each year at Remembrance.

However, the emotions stirred by the loss of the fallen in warfare goes on until the present day.

Our Armed Forces make sacrifices day in, day out.

So other more contemporary poets might be inspired to write their own verse in honour of the fallen - some of you, perhaps?

Here, BFBS Broadcaster Ernie Rowe penned her own poetry in the build-up to Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day services in 2019.

Remembrance poem by Ernie Rowe. BFBS

Whichever poem you choose, these verses are an aid to expressing emotions as we pay our respects as a nation.

They add expressive emotions to an already poignant moment in the annual calendar as hundreds of thousands of people across the country, and around the world, honour the fallen on Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day.