BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

13 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


A Trilogy of Verse - Italy

by SwanseaLibraries

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Doril MacMunn Gilbert
Location of story: 
Monte Cassino
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
10 December 2004

Commemorating Pilgrimage to Italy II London Area

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Association 8 - 22 May 1994


Silent now the beaches lie
Merged in one with sea and sky.
Expectant 'neath the thundery grey
Where the thunder of another day
Meant guns and all of battle's noise
And in the midst our valiant boys
With lack of training and their fears;
Undaunted Royal Fusiliers.
Salerno, Anzio and then
Rock fortress v the flesh of men,
Cassino, famous monastery
A mount renowned in history.
Today, some fifty years ahead
We come to honour all our dead
The wounded and the whole, so brave
Who fought, no thought themselves to save.
Where death and horror once have been
Feel, in this quiet and tranquil scene
A peace profound, a simple prayer
Upon the lips of those who care.

Second: Remembrance

We only knew what the newspapers told us,
Things that we heard and things that we read.
In those days none of us had television
We had to rely on the things that were said.
"Walls had ears" we were sworn to security
Pathe showed pictures in black and white,
Meagre the impact of those that were given
Even when battles were shown at their height. Salerno,
Anzio, Monte Cassino
Although on our lips meant little enough.
The breakthroughs, the captures, the long days of waiting
Gave little idea of the meaning of tough!
Only years after, on seeing the landscape
Walking the ground, discussing the plan.
Could we discover the task so inhuman
The efforts so endless assigned to each man.
Bold words are inscribed on cemetery gateways
They thank the Armed Forces for Italy saved,
Words are inadequate, no way can we thank them
For all their endeavours, the horrors they braved.
Row upon row in cemetery gardens
Names are remembered with care and with flowers
But only the heart shall recall the real meaning
Of love for these brave ones, these men that were ours.


The watered grass so fresh' and green
Submits a backcloth to the scene
Of rows and rows of gravestones neat
With flowers massed around their feet.
The blue of heaven over all,
Through the trees the buglers' call
In practice for the time ahead
When they play tribute to our dead.
Then stand we all, without a sound,
Motionless in honour bound
Remembering the wartime years
We bite our lips, to staunch our tears.
Cars go by upon the hill
Heeding not the crowds so still
That like a coloured carpet spread
In solemn worship for their dead.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

British Army Category
Poetry Category
Italy Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy