To Wear a Poppy
When we buy a
poppy approaching Remembrance Day
method we should sport it - in a special way
Don't show it
off too early - as politicians do
Or have it on
your right side - that is quite wrong too
Place it on
your left side so others will not mock
Make sure the
leaf with it - is eleven of the clock
I reckon it's
noteworthy to pin it on correct
this fine emblem, expressing your respect
Of course its
not compulsory but that's the way I see
why you're wearing it - is because we are free
Churchill, House of Commons, 20th August 1940
"The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and
indeed throughout the world except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out
to the British airmen, who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant
challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their
prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so
much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots,
whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we
must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month,
our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the
darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under
the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful
discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the
technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the
Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the
daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion
and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on
numerous occasions to restrain. "
There are no roses on
Nor wreaths upon the storm tossed waves,
No last post from the Royals band,
So far away from their native land,
No heartbroken words carved on stone,
Just shipmates bodies there alone,
The only tributes are the seagulls sweeps,
And the teardrop when a loved one weeps.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Take a little care this
day and glance above the tiles,
Perchance to see a flagpole visible for miles,
Atop of it a red flag proudly whipping tight,
A Merchant Navy ensign flying there by right.
From important buildings as well as from the sea.
It's flown to honour mariners and shipping history,
Sailing through the years, transporting all the freight,
Conserving of the lifelines keeping Britain great.
If you glance aloft and see with knowing eye,
A `duster` at the masthead when you're passing by,
Please inform your offspring while going on to say,
A debt is owed to seamen under colours flown today.
Rupert Brooke, 1914
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England.
Horatio Nelson, 1805
England expects that every man will do his duty.
The Mariners of England
"The Mercantile Marine is the
Old England, the buttress and pride of the nation.
But their lot is a living damnation,
Their bodies are cheaper than clay
In the pit of Perdition they;re moaning
(Relentless Jehovah, how long)
Compared with the sound of their groaning
The cry of the damned is a song
A glad and exuberant song!
Ashore they are outcast and hated.
They starve and they suffer at sea;
For their calling's ill famed and ill-fated
Whatever the theories be.
We call 'em pet names in our speeches,
But we cuff and we kick em in fact;
We live on their labour like leeches,
And we give' em, beween times, a tract!
We pay off our debt with a tract!
Don't speak to me of heroes until you've heard the
Of Britain's merchant seamen who sailed through storm and gale
To keep those lifelines open in our nation's hour of need
When a tyrant cast a shadow across our island breed
Captains,greasers,cabin boys, mates and engineers
Heard the call to duty and cast aside their fears
They stoked those hungry boilers and stood behind the wheel
While cooks and stewards manned the guns on coffins
made of steel
They moved in icy convoys from Scapa to Murmansk
And crossed the Western Ocean, never seeking thanks
They sailed the South Atlantic where raiders lay in wait
And kept the food lines open from Malta to the Cape
Tracked by silent U-boats which hunted from below
Shelled by mighty cannons and fighters flying low
They clung to burning lifeboats where the sea had turned to flame
I speak not of a handful but 30,000 plus, some whose names we'll never
whom we placed our trust
They never knew the honour of medals on their chests Or marching bands and
glory and the rest
The ocean is their resting place, their tombstone is the wind, The
seabird's cry their last goodbye to family and friend
Freighters, troopships, liners and tankers by the score, Fishing
boats and coasters, 2,000 ships and more
Flew the proud Red Duster as they sank beneath the waves And took those
countless heroes to lonely ocean graves
Their legacy is freedom to those who hold it dear, To walk with clear
horizons and never hide in fear
So when you speak of heroes, remember those at sea from Britain's Merchant
Navy who died to keep us free
David Partridge, Botrany Bay, Australia
and shipmate George Hickman, Braunton, Devon