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15 October 2014
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Poem In Nagasaki

by nottinghamcsv

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Mr Bert Brown
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20 September 2005

"This story was submitted to the People's War site by CSV/BBC Radio Nottingham on behalf of Mr Bert Brown with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions"

It was July 1945. I was in a prison camp hospital 8 or 9 miles from Nagasaki. The lad who was in the bed opposite me had this poem — I don’t know if he wrote it or if someone had given it to him, I never asked and the war finished soon after so I never saw him again. He showed it to me and I asked if I could copy it. He got some paper from somewhere and I had a tiny bit of pencil about an inch long because we weren’t allowed to receive letters. I copied it out and kept it in my pocket for the rest of the war and still until today.

The fall of Singapore

Since the day we were taken our spirits have fill
And though it’s not showing, it’s easy to tell
After long days of fighting our chances were rare
For something was missing, the boys of the air

But the boys kept on slamming the hell at the bore
Facing death from the bombs and mortars galore
And through that destruction their spirits ran high
Even smiling at times as shell slithered by

Still the boys carried on through long weary nights
Helping the inventory in their long gruesome fight
But the Japs were so numerous and willing to die
That kept them coming on with their help from the sky

But we fought gamely on with out backs to the wall
And each soldier cried ”the Island won’t fall”
So the guns barked defiant with angry retort
When suddenly came whispers “our ammo run short”
So the drivers set forth over death ridden lanes
Searching for ammo amongst the shattered remains
But the dumps had been shattered by fifth column spies
Their work satisfactory by the glow in the sky

Our shells were numbered and handled with care
As each one went over in turn did its share
But we kept from each other that dread word defeat
And prepared with fixed bayonets, the enemy to meet

Then we found with a shock our water supply
Had been cut off completely, the taps had run dry
But the boys shouted gaily but we knew by their tone
That the hour had come and our last hope gone

One afternoon when expecting it least
We found on all fronts, that fighting had ceased
But it was not the silence that made us all stare
T’was the white flag flying that gave us despair

Then the word was given the enemy had won
And each stout heart was acting like true British son
For we’d fought and fought hard for this small Isle
Prepared to fight to the last rank and file

Now my thoughts wander back to the day when I kneeled
Over a small wooden cross in the battle scared field
To a comrade who died for theta land o’er the sea
And that country “Old England” the land of the free.

Poem written by unknown gunner, RA (Royal Artillery).

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