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In Memory of the Royal Navy's Warships of World War II
Once I looked from the Tamar Bridge, at the warships down below Ships of the modern Navy, with names I did not know. And, as I stood and gazed at them, on the water far below I saw a fleet of phantom ships, and men of long ago.
The Rodney and the Nelson, the Valiant and Ramilies Repulse, Renown and Malaya, coming home from foreign seas. I saw Revenge and Warspite, ill-fated Royal Oak, So many ships, their names made faint, by shell and fire and smoke.
And some I see to harbour, come as through glasses dark. The Barham and the Glorious. The Eagle and the Ark, And then, there comes the greatest, the mighty warship Hood Dark and grey and wraithlike, from the spot on which I stood.
From the cruel North Atlantic, from the Med and Java sea, The big ships and the little ships, returned for me to see There's the Dorsetshire, Edinburgh, Campbeltown and Kent The Cossack, and Courageous, the Charybdis and Ardent.
I could just discern the Kelly, Kashmir and Kandahar The Jarvis, York and Stuart, the Aussie Navy's star. With Cape Matapan's fine Formidable, her air wing safely fast. The Cornwall home from China, the Belfast home at last.
Now I can't see very clearly, must be smoke that's in my eyes But mercifully hidden are the men, and stilled their raucous cries. You don't know Shorty Hasset, he won the D.S.M He still fought on when Exeter was burning stern to stem
Where now...! Dodger Long and Lofty, where now the boys and men? They are lost and gone forever; shall we see their likes again? I am sure I saw them mustering on deck for daily prayer, And heard "For those in Peril", rise on the evening air.
Then darker grew the picture, as the lowering night came on, I looked down from that lofty bridge, but all the ships were gone. Those mighty ships had vanished; gone those simple men. We'll surely never ever, see the likes of them again.
| last updated:
13 July 2013