Aurora crept from cold dark night.
To wash the hill with dull first light,
And there arrayed, in shattered ranks,
Were rusting hulks of burnt-out tanks.
A vixen fox guides home her brood.
The badger ceased his search for food.
Pale blue replaced the streaks of grey,
In promise of a brighter day.
A hobby hawk swooped fast and sure,
A silent spear of beak and claw.
In long dead tank, a home for snakes,
An adder warms and slowly wakes.
Beyond the ridge, behind the hill,
The village homes stand empty still,
In witness to that tearful day,
When Tyneham folk were sent away.
And soon the clank of tracks is heard.
A warning to each beast and bird.
From Durdle Door to Arish Mell,
This paradise will soon be hell.
Then shell and shot begin to fly.
Fierce shrapnel bursts distort the sky.
Machine gun bursts send cones of fire,
At cardboard trucks, propelled by wire.
A tank is hit in hull and track,
Its turret jammed, it can’t fight back
Black plumes of smoke curl from its hatch.
But this is not an even match.
Here no one dies in firefight.
Each man sleeps safe in bed at night.
No soldiers crew those trucks and tanks.
Which hold the fort on Purbeck banks.
For this is ancient Bindon Hill
Where tank crews strived to hone their skill
Since “Little Willie” first was drove
From Thetford Town to Lulworth Cove.