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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Dave (the ancient mariner) BS: Veterans' (Armistice) Day - moderated (38) RE: BS: Veterans' (Armistice) Day - moderated 11 Nov 05

Until recent years there has never been a place set aside for the Merchant Navy at any memorials. Now the veterans of that service stand side by side with the military. Some of the youngest who died(14 and 15 year olds) served in the MN. Even during the Vietnam war Merchant Marines died in action, were POW's and are listed as missing. I have no idea who wrote this but for them....


I've read about soldiers & sailors,
of infantry, airmen & tanks,
of battleships, corvettes and cruisers,
of Anzacs, and Froggies and Yanks,
and there's one other man to remember
who was present at many a fray,
He wears neither medals or ribbons
and derides any show of display.

I'm talking of Mates, A.B.'s and firemen
of stewards and greasers and cooks
who manned the big steamers in convoy
(You wont read about them in books).
No uniform gay were they dressed in,
nor marched with their colours unfurled:
They steamed out across the wide oceans
and travelled all over the world.

Their history goes back through the ages
a record of which to be proud
and the bones of their forefathers moulder
with naught but the deep for a shroud,
For armies have swept on to victory
o'er the bodies of those who have died;
'Tis thus that the nations do battle
For country and freedom and pride.

In thousands they sailed from the Homeland
from Liverpool, Hull, and the Clyde,
to London, and Bristol, and Cardiff,
They came back again on the tide.
An old 'four-point-seven' their safeguard.
What nice easy prey for the Huns,
who trailed them with bombers and U-Boats
and sank them with 'tin-fish' and guns.

The epic of gallant OTAKI,
that grim forlorn hope Jervis Bay,
who fought to the last and were beaten
but they joined the illustrious array
whose skeletons lie 'neath the waters,
whose deeds are remembered today,
and their glory will shine undiminished
long after our flesh turns to clay.

They landed the Anzacs at Suvla
and stranded the old River Clyde,
Off Dunkirk they gathered the remnants
(And still they were not satisfied)
They Battled their way through to Malta
and rescued the troops from Malay;
they brought the eighth army munitions
and took all their prisoners away.

And others 'signed on' in the tankers
and loaded crude oil and octane
the lifeblood of warships and engines,
of mechanised transport and plane.
But these were the U-Boats chief victims;
What death they were called on to face ;
As men were engulfed by infernos
In ships that were 'sunk without trace'.

They were classed a non-combatant service-
Civilians who fought without guns
and many's the time they'd have welcomed
a chance of a crack at the Huns.
But somehow in spite of this drawback
The steamers still sailed and arrived
and they fed fifty millions of people
and right to the end we survived.

And now that the turmoil is ended,
our enemies vanquished and fled,
we'll pray that the living will foster
the spirit of those who are dead.
When the next generation takes over
this country we now hold in lease
will be theirs - may they cherish its freedom
and walk down the pathways of peace.

When the Master of Masters holds judgement
and the devils dark angels have flown,
When the clerk of the heavenly council
decrees that the names shall be known
They will stand out in glittering letters
inscribed with the blood they have shed;
Names of Ships - and the seamen who manned them;
then the ocean can give up its dead.

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