His name was William Elliott

An orphan long ago

And a choirboy in Sunderland

He left a note to tell us so

Written on a service sheet

It fell beneath the bench

And William fell in Flanders

Fighting with the French


1897 it was

The day he wrote his note

Wanting to be remembered

Given at least a thought

‘I will love you if you love me’

The message that he gave

A child in need of loving

Who found a soldier’s grave


We all wish to be loved in life

Remembered when we’re gone

Like the dying thief upon the cross

Our hopes rely upon

The one who died that we might live

That day on Calvary

O Lord I beg you hear us all

O Lord remember me


Brian Fahy

31 March 2022


+ During a restoration work of a church in Sunderland, a note was found that had fallen under a bench and lay trapped there for over a hundred years. It was written by an orphan choirboy, William Elliott, whose father, a naval officer, had been lost at sea. William disappears from all records later on but in the list of the dead from the Great War, from the North East region, is one William Elliot, spelt with one ‘T’. Is this the orphan boy, and did he die in France?


The story made me think about how important it is to be remembered. How sad it is to be forgotten. I truly believe that God remembers us all. Our names are written in heaven and by God’s grace we will meet again.

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