Poetry

Dunkirk

By 22nd February 2010December 9th, 2019No Comments

History was a subject always taught at school
From the various books there displayed
But now that I am older with so many Memories
I’ve realised that is how History Books were made
I’m returning now to my childhood
To 1940 all those years ago
When I was but a mere 8 year old lad
And events of that time I still know
World War 2 was provoked by Germany
Who over- ran neighbouring Countries with speed
But when they entered the borders of France
As Allies our Army was in dire need
For the French couldn’t halt the advance of the invaders
It was time for the British Expeditionary Force to launch
What was considered to be a formidable Army
In an attempt the German advance to staunch
But although they made such a valiant effort
It seemed so many lives were lost in vain
When the German opposition was far too strong
And drove us back to the beaches at Dunkirk once again
I remember so well of the plea to all boat owners
For all available craft to be sent to Dunkirk in France
As a strange Flotilla to sail across the English Channel
And give our Army’s return from the beaches half a chance
Most of the boats were crewed by civilian owners, some teenagers
Small boats, Trawlers and Pleasure boats anything really that would float
In a dramatic rescue mission to save our Army on the beaches
When at heart I think they knew success was very remote
The Navy was there too and did what they could
But jetties and landing stages there were few
In many cases the larger vessels had to wait just offshore
Using smaller vessels as ferries was the best they could do
For the advancing German Army was shelling them on the beaches
Hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers on those deserted sands
And they were also strafed by the Luftwaffe from the skies
As they eagerly reached out to their rescuers helping hands
To evacuate so many Soldiers under these extreme conditions
However impossible it may have seemed
Eventually more than 300,000 men were rescued on this mission
More successful than most at home would have dreamed
But as with everything in life miracles like this have a cost
And in this instance the balance that must be made
Was the knowledge that 5000 lives were lost
I remember Oh! so well the sights on the Newsreels
As these rescue ships pulled alongside quays to land
Those poor dishevelled Survivors of Dunkirk
Reaching out to receive a welcome hand
They filed off the ships wrapped in blankets
Or anything to keep their war-torn bodies warm
It was obvious to all that these men were resilient
And well trained and prepared to weather any storm
But at the same time there were other evacuations
St. Malo, , Brest, Cherbourg and St Nazaire I recall
There were 240 vessels in total involved in the rescue
And they saved the lives of 540,000 victims overall
This was an example of the true British spirit
Where they pulled out all the stops to beat the Hun
Never giving thought for their own requirements
But in War all pulling together as one

Dennis Shrubshall

Author Dennis Shrubshall

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