WW1 Photos Centenary Website: 2014-2018 By Paul Reed

I Had A Comrade: German Burial in the Argonne

This image is taken in the Argonne region of France and shows an unnamed German cemetery set on the slope of a hill or a small ravine. A group of German soldiers are burying a comrade who has recently fallen on the field of battle. The men stand round the grave while an officer uses an entrenching tool to cast in some earth. It is an unusual photograph in many ways and one wonders who the fallen soldier was?

At such services the German soldiers would sing Ich Hatt’ Einen Kameraden – in some ways the German equivalent of The Last Post. The English translation of the song reads:

I once had a comrade,
you won’t find a better one.
The drum was rolling for battle,
he was marching by my side
in the same pace and stride.

A bullet flew towards us
meant for you or for me?
It did tear him away,
he lies at my feet
like he was a part of me.

He wants to reach his hand to me,
while I’m just reloading my gun.
“Can’t give you my hand for now,
you rest in eternal life
My good comrade!”


One response

  1. Terry Mulcahy

    Makes me think of my grandfather buried in North France in late October of 1918, just 2 weeks before the war ended!

    08/01/2012 at 15:42

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