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By Frederick H. Martens

AYE, with a yellow ribbon-band

And a cross of British tin

They think to mock the Iron Cross

That men dare all to win;

Nor heed the scorn of Nelson mute,

High in Trafalgar Square,

The man who never fought a foe

But what he fought him fair!

The tears and blood of sacrifice,

For them the Cross doth stand,

They tie it to the mangy curs

That run along the Strand;

The horses of the busmen show,

As through the streets they fare

The gift the Fatherland bestows

For deeds beyond compare.

Yet though the jeering rabble throng

The streets of London Town,

And flaunt their mock of tin for steel

Their fear they may not down;

And they’ll recall when Zeppelins

Rise o’er the Channel haze

The motto of the Iron Cross:

“God with us:   His the praise!”

Martens, Frederick H. “The Iron Cross.” The Fatherland 1, no. 17 (December 2, 1914): 10.

Martens, Frederick H. “The Iron Cross.” The Fatherland 1, no. 17 (December 2, 1914): 10.


Iron Cross

The highest German military decoration for bravery, established in 1813.



Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758–1805) defeated the combined French and Spanish Navies in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) but died when he was hit by a French musket ball. Nelson’s Column, a monument honoring Lord Nelson, was erected in the square in 1843.

Cannon, John, and Robert Crowcroft. “Nelson, Horatio.” In A Dictionary of British History. Oxford University Press, 2015. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780191758027.001.0001/acref-9780191758027-e-2444.


Trafalgar Sqare

Built in central London from 1829 to 1841, Trafalgar Square is named after the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), between the British Royal Navy and the French and Spanish Navies.


the Strand

The Strand is a major street in Central London that runs east from Trafalgar Square, parallel to the River Thames.



Zeppelins, named after their German inventor Ferdinand Zeppelin (1838–1917), were long–range airships with a metal frame. Germany was the first country to use them as a strategic weapon, outfitting them with machine guns and high explosive and incendiary bombs.

Dusch, Charles: Zeppelin (Airship). In 1914–1918–online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson. Freie Universität Berlin, 2014–. Article published January 25, 2019. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/zeppelin_airship.



The Channel, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean between France and Britain, joins the southern part of the North Sea at the Strait of Dover.

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