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15 October 2014
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The Little Ships

by Joan Quibell

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Archive List > Poetry

Contributed by 
Joan Quibell
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A4061882
Contributed on: 
13 May 2005

Written to Leslie, who served on the Little Ships. And dedicated to MTB 695, lost March 26th 1944

Grey sullen seas, heaving and rolling,
Meeting a stretch of pearly-streaked sky.
Dawning's first lights are tinting the Eastward,
Plaintive and eerie the gulls wheel and cry.
Faint morning stars are slowly receding,
The moon has grown pale in her silver-seeped nest,
Another new day is softly awakening,
A breeze salt with spray blows up from the West.

Menacing, powerful, the great waves are breaking,
Surging on shore in showers of flecked foam,
Dawn and the ships of patrol are returning,
Dawn sees the Little Ships coming back home.
Little grey ships coming home to the harbour,
Another night ended, another task done,
Deadly and fast are these ships with a purpose,
Driving relentlessly down on the Hun.

Here's a toast to those boats and their praiseworthy mission,
Sweeping the Channel clean of the foe,
Proud fighting ships that can take it and give it,
May God be with them wherever they go.
And here's to the men, the men who sail in them,
As deep and as staunch as their love of the sea.
Gallant young knights riding high in adventure,
Bringing new glory to old history.

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