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The March Trodding through mud,sometimes waist deep.
Marching on to Hitlers keep.
With M-1 rifles slung on our shoulders.
We were Americas sons,turned into Soldiers.
We marched all day and through the night.
Every second of combat filled us with fright.
The shock of shell and cannon roar.
Made us long for a far away shore.
Each step is earned in blood and tears.
But soon our sons will have nothing to fear.
This is why we marched,fought,and died.
So our Sons,Daughters,and future generations would know freedom.
I would like to thank the Veterans for all they have done. Thank you for everything.
Paul B. Fletcher
The following short poem was written by my mother, Phyllis Player, who was 21 in 1939 and lived in Portsmouth. It dealt with the Parade for the Sailors, who took part in the attack on the "Admiral Graf Spee".
The men of the Ajax and Exeter too
Dressed in the uniform of Navy Blue.
Marched through the streets of London town
To celebrate a victory of Renown
The Achilles we told is still at sea.
But she helped to fight that ship "Graf Spee"
Those three little ships were England's pride
And through the battle, stood side by side.
The scuttling of her was a terrible loss
To the "Fuhrer" who thinks he's the boss.
But will the Germans feel the same
When they have lost and we have gained.
Mr P J Carey
Blue of the sea and white of the dove,
Black of the crow and red of the blood,
Pink roses withered and poppies to bright,
Altogether this makes the most frightening sight.
Lets work together and lest we forget,
The horrible past we all regret,
No race, no age, no color, no gender,
Just peace, peace, peace a splendor.
There's no use killing and no use dying,
For what is today will all be past
Just death in front freedom at last.
But blue of the sea and white of the dove,
Pink roses abloom and poppies just right,
Black of the crow and red of the love,
Make the world's most wonderful sight.
Age, 12 Grade, 8.
Lost in the smoke"
Lost in the battle lost in the smoke,
A thousand reasons why this is no joke,
Blinded by fire I watch them fall,
Moving rapidly towards God's call,
To many days we take for granit,
To many men lost in the panic,
On a day were men sat down to cry,
A day were they prayed to God to not let them die,
Those men are not lost from us and our hope,
They are only lost in the smoke.
A poem written in 1994 on Omaha Beach, Normandy:
France On a beach in Normandy I never even cried
But stood a while in silence
For all the men that died
Thanks to all the young men
Who gave their lives for me
Without them would we ever
Have our liberty
Thanks to all the old men
Who live the nightmare still
And marched on in from Normandy
'Til the foe had had his fill.
J B Green Written on Omaha Beach.
1994 Copyright J B Green. This document may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author. Email: info @ jwgswimming.co.uk
And when he gets to heaven,
To St. Peter he will tell,
One more soldier reporting sir,
I served my time in hell.
These names of long winters speak,
for days of green summers mourn,
on crosses in rows,
the grave's granite voice,
these names give meaning to bones.
Where lie your young murdered brothers?
How found you your fathers afield?
What marker betrayed
their sun bleached remains?
remembered in steel.
"Stalag Zehn B"
le feldwebel est devenu général
le docteur du camp , professeur
et nous les juifs - c'est banal -
on est resté juif - pas d'erreur
translation in English
"Stalag Zehn B"
the feldwebel became a general
the campdoctor , a professor
and we the jews - it's banal-
we stayed jewish - no error.
juif errant , juif maudit
et nul mot sur eux est interdit
traités de crimes et de trahisons
ils ont été mis en prison
on les a torturés et tués
au nom d’une infâme idée
et maintenant plus que jamais
a qui le tour s’il vous plaît ?
translation in English :
wandering jew,damned jew
and no words on them are forbidden
suspected of crimes and treason
they have been put in jail
they have been tortured and murdered
in the name of an insane idea
and now - more than ever -
who is next, please ?
AN “AIRMAN'S SON"
I was just a wee child, when the world went wild,
With warbird, bomb and gun,
Not knowing then, whether or when,
We might see the next rise of the sun,
In this time of great fear, when death seemed so near,
Could we hide or possibly run?
There was nowhere to go, for the place was aglow,
With such chaos, all senses to stun.
I was not quite a lad, when told of my Dad,
And that I was an “Airman’s Son”
He had served with ambition, to fulfil the tradition,
And gave up his life and fun,
With the pride of his Nation, and their brave dedication,
Of Bomber Command, he was one,
Sent to stop the machines, and the ways and means,
Of the foe they called “The Hun”.
Casting ethics aside, High Command did decide,
Area Bombing, would have to be done,
For this task so denied, with convention belied,
“The Whirlwind” was begun,
With his honour all rent, and his valour all spent,
His conscience then twisted and spun,
So he finished it all, yet his way, held no call,
For his memory any to shun.
Many lives and dreams ended, when traditions upended,
In the War that had to be won,
It is a lot of years now, since I found out quite how,
He made that sad final choice,
Yet year upon year, I shed a small tear,
And ponder the thoughts he might voice,
Though he was never quite known, I am ever his own,
And proud to be his “Airman’s Son.”
Dedicated to the memory of my Father,
“SQUADRON LEADER” “MAURICE ROY SKEET.” (39800) “R.A.F. BOMBER COMMAND” (1937-1942)
(Who took his own life on the 26th of June 1942, aged 24)
Michael Anthony Roy Skeet.
THE FORGOTTEN FEW (The Battle for RAF Habbaniya May 1941)
The tale must be told of the “Forgotten Few”,
Of the pupils and pilots and the planes they flew,
Little is known of that barely trained band,
Helping fuel flow for their Country’s home stand.
Of the Battle they fought and the Victory won,
In the Days of May back in Forty One,
Of their intrepid deeds in the desert and sand,
To hold “Habbaniya” in Iraq’s hostile land,
A peasants revolt so the records did say,
But a full-trained five thousand sat over the way,
Camped on the ridge with Howitzers and shell,
Intent on blasting those “Habbites” to hell.
The men and machines of that RAF base,
Versus a well-equipped force, with no choice but to face,
Doing their history proud, way back then,
With a makeshift mixture of old craft and young men.
In the second dawn of May the Flight took to the skies,
Bombing and strafing the foe with surprise,
Number Four Training school lofted on ancient steeds,
Bodged up with bombs and racks as must needs.
In tracer and shellfire they shouldered their task,
Accomplishing more than their orders did ask,
With Outdated Aircraft doing their best,
The Trainees and Tutors stood fast to their test.
By torchlight their craft were patched and repaired,
For the next days sorties with little rest spared,
Again and again they flew into that hell,
With no time to make logs for history to tell.
And when at the end the enemy faltered and fled,
Few honours were granted or citations read.
Though little is said of that Motley Crew,
Yet the tale must be told of “The Forgotten Few”.
Dedicated to the Men and Machines of No 4 Flight Training School
RAF HABBANIYA STATION IRAQ, MAY 1941
Michael Anthony Roy Skeet.
I served throughout the war in the Royal Navy. Since then I have published two books. The first an anthology of poetry written by Canadians during the war and another an autobiography entitled "It wasn't all Mayhem" or "Musings of a matelot".
In the poetry book I included my poem to the memory of Amy Johnson I was there when she died. The following is the explanation as written in the book. Amy Johnson was Britain's outstanding woman flier. Not as internationally known as her friend Amelia Earhart but in Britain her name was a household word. Songs were written about her exploits. Her death was a devastating blow. She was killed in January 1940 (I think it was the 8th.) An aircraft she was ferrying for the R.A.F. crash landed in the English channel almost alongside the destroyer I was in. The Captain of a convoy escort (the Haslemere) dived in to save her but died in the attempt. I was in the senior destroyer of the escort and had the tragically and unforgettable duty of making the signal that told Britain of the loss of it's most famous daughter. A full description of the above incident is included in my book, "It wasn't all Mayhem" along with a life time of incidents for which I am endeavouring to find a U.K. publisher.
That night I wrote the following poem:
To Amy Johnson
When the last all clear has sounded over these ravaged lands,
and the victory parades follow the sound of marching bands.
You will not be there.
You will be lying here asleep,
in England's all protecting keep,
and the ever moving waves will wash gently oe'r your grave.
In such honourable company.
In the years that follow, on each remembrance day
the mourning multitudes will stand silently to pray.
The plaintive notes of the last post will echo through the land,
and the waves will sound your threnody over the golden sand.
Then you will be there.
I Heard a Soldier Weep
I woke from sleep - not knowing why.
Some ghostly nightmare come to fright
And keep me restless through the night
Preventing me from sleeping?
.......I heard the sound of weeping.
Hushed voices then in urgent tones
Did smooth away my anxious fears
Of ghosts and such; but sensing tears,
I crept in much confusion,
Upbraiding this intrusion.
Two huddled forms I then observed,
In anguished conversation deep.
And curious then, forgetting sleep
I hid in furtive fashion,
To learn what caused such passion.
And in the darkness hiding there -
I learned the reason for the tears.
A soldier boy, beset with fears
Begged refuge from my mother.
The soldier was her brother!
And gently then, to comfort him,
She softly stroked his strong young hand,
And sought to make him understand
To hide was no solution.
Thus ended their discussion.
But understanding not his grief,
I crept back to my bed that night
Too young to comprehend his plight.
And hence - war’s futile mission
Fulfilled his premonition!
I ask my Maker - let it be
I meet this soldier once again
And beg forgiveness for the pain
I witnessed when disturbed in sleep
And heard a soldier weep.
This young Yorkshire lad (my uncle) was shot and killed whilst parachuting after the leave during which I heard him weeping - his memorial stone is in France - he was 22.
THE STREET PARTY -
a poem of my memory as a child of 10 in the West Riding of Yorkshire
Hurry, hurry, hurry - come and join us everyone.
The war, at last, is over - and it's time to have some fun.
For now we need to celebrate and celebrate we will -
We'll party on, the whole night through,
we'll party on until The grieving has subsided and the rage has gone away,
We'll sing and dance and laugh and cry and not forget this day.
And everyone from every house throughout this happy land Will get together one and all, and joyfully
- hand in hand -
Will organise a party to be held in every street
And anyone from anywhere will gather there and meet
To eat and drink until they're full and dance the whole night long
And soothe away the pain and fill each saddened heart with song.
So lay out all the tables, and bring out the plates of food,
And on this day let all rejoice - let no sad thoughts intrude.
Sweet ladies don your party frocks, put flowers in your hair
And worry not the toil or cost, this is no time to care.
This is the day to put aside your caution and your pride,
Today we'll share with everyone - let nothing be denied.
For this day is a special day, it marks the end of war,
A day to let our hair down and get on with life once more.
It also marks a fresh new start - a chance to build again,
A chance to build a world that's free of bigotry and pain,
To put the past behind us and be glad that we're alive -
And pray for those not here to sing in nineteen forty five.
To build again and trust again, and patiently endeavour
To live in peaceful harmony, and live this way forever.
But try we must, else sacrifices made were all for nought.
A better way to deal with greed and bias must be sought.
For if we fail - if all our dreams are doomed to meet defeat
We'll have no need of parties, there'll be no-one in the street!
WHO ARE THESE MEN ?
Who are these men who march so proud,
Who quietly weep,eyes closed,head bowed?
These are the men who once were boys,
Who missed out on youth and all it's joys.
Who are these men with aged faces,
Who silently count the empty spaces?
These are the men who gave their all,
Who fought for their country for freedom for all.
Who are these men with sorrowful look
Who can still remember the lives that were took?
These are the men who saw young men die,
The price of peace is always high.
Who are these men who in the midst of pain,
Whispered comfort to those they would not see again?
These are the men whose hands held tomorrow,
Who brought back our future with blood tears and sorrow.
Who are these men who promise to keep
Alive in their hearts the ones God holds asleep?
These are the men to whom I promise again:
'Veterans',my friends-I will remember them !.
(Written by: an 'unknown'-12 year old girl-1966.)
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