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 COMBINED OPERATIONS

WW2 land, sea and air forces of the Allied Nations planning, training and working together as a unified force on amphibious raids and landings against the enemy.


Poetry largely about the Normandy Landings - D-Day
 

In honour and grateful remembrance of all who served before, during and after D Day.

To provide some context for the poems that follow, a map of the Normandy landing beaches and an image of a painting entitled "Combined Operations - A Normandy Beachhead" are positioned opposite. Both will enlarge to provide more detail.

The photo of Cyril Crain was taken at the Combined Operations Command Memorial Dedication Ceremony on July 4th, 2013, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

David A Thorp's painting graphically reminds us of the hazardous conditions that prevailed during the initial assault phase of Operation Neptune, the amphibious part of Operation Overlord.


'Normandy' by Juno Veteran Cyril Crain 

Come and stand in memory
Of men who fought and died
They gave their lives in Normandy
Remember them with pride.
 
Soldiers, Airman, sailors
Airborne and marines
Who in civvy life were tailors
and men who worked machines.
 
British and Canadian
And men from USA
Forces from the Commonwealth
They all were there that day
 
To Juno, Sword and Utah
Beaches of renown
Also Gold and Omaha
That’s where the ramps went down.
 
The battle raged in Normandy
Many lives were lost
The war must end in victory
And this must be the cost
 
When my life is over
And I reach the other side
I’ll meet my friends from Normandy
And shake their hands with pride.


Normandy 44 by Phil Pead

 

Their bodies and parachutes hung from the trees
Near a church tower in Normandy at St Mere Eglise
Eighty Second Airborne from a tracer filled sky
The dice roll of fate choosing those who would die

There are hundreds and hundreds on Omaha Beach
The cliff tops above them now forever out of reach
With mortars and machines guns and 88s as well
It’s a wonder that any could’ve lived through that hell

Gliders troops from the Sixth took the bridges at Orne
But some never saw that first breaking of dawn
They held out through daylight as the Panzers attacked
But they never retreated, they never fell back

The Eagles were screaming as they took Carentan
They didn’t all make it, but the Germans, they ran
Clearing the streets as the mortar shells burst
Dying in scores were the Hundred and First

Canadians that fought near the town of Courseulles
Torn up and mangled by huge jerry shells
They all knew the danger, some knew that they’d fall
As they ran through the bullets to breach the sea wall

British Commandos at Ouistreham, Queen Red
The bridgehead they took there was paid for in dead
Advancing inland as the day carried on
Fewer and fewer with a lot of mates gone

If you visit years later and hear the sea roar
Don’t forget those who went there in June 44
For all those that fought there and the many that died
Appreciate your Freedom and Remember them with Pride.


Little Ships (Unknown)

It was a quarter to six, on the morning in June
When the little ships took to the sea
Loaded with men of all nations
The "Vanguard", to set the world free

They were guarded aloft by the Air-Force
And covered each side by the fleet
Each clad-man was sure of his task
In smashing the foe he would meet

The sea was white-crested and angry
As the little craft closed into line
But the Royal Marines who were forming the crew
Were undaunted, by wave-top or brine

For more than eight miles they struggled
To keep their formations intact
And when close to shore, where they came under fire
Neither mortar, nor shell, held them back

They all heard the fire of the big naval guns
And the shells that were screaming o'erhead
Exploding with roars, midst the enemy ranks
And strewing the fore-shore with dead

As these tiny craft beached at seven twenty five
That same morning on Normandy shore
To a person who watched could plainly be seen
That freedom was saved "Evermore"

As the allied troops swept up the beaches
Those small craft again faced the sea
Save those craft that were sunk by gunfire or stake
And had perished for "Liberty"

Any now the Invasion is over
And soon will be talked of no more
Still, I know that "Glenearn" will never forget
That day, June the sixth, forty four

[HMS Glenearn was a mother ship that carried minor Landing Craft, their crews and human cargos from UK waters to 8 miles or so off the Normandy coast, where they were lowered into the water to make their way to the landing beaches under their own power. This poem was received, with thanks, from Myles Sutherland. If anyone knows who the poet was, please let us know via "Contact Us" in the page banner.]


As a former military serviceman I was moved to walk the grounds, where so many sacrificed for others. The impact of the magnitude of loss hit me as I crested the rise and saw the sea of white crosses. I ran the beach and wrote this poem. Bill Woods.

'A beach in June”

It wasn't your land
But it was part of the plan
From ship to shore,
O' the courage you bore
200 yards of low tide sand
Soaked in blood, many a man
6603 American lives lost, 3 hours, frantic
6603 families permanently shattered across the Atlantic
Lives sacrificed for liberation, oppression lifted
Proving forever that freedom is earned not gifted
A once un-famous beach stained in maroon
Never forget Normandy Beach 1944 June!


 Click audio icon to listen to the poem which itself will enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I found the D Day poem in my late mother's belongings. I am not sure where it came from but thought it might be of interest. It was typed on the back of notepaper from “Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Co Limited”. I think my grandfather worked at Metro-Vicks. Please feel free to add it to the poetry web page.

Russ Hore.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


D-Day Landings - a selection of poems by the late Tony Chapman, archivist/historian for the LST and Landing Craft Association (Royal Navy).

 

Keep Moving

Keep moving lads ... keep moving
Don't huddle on this beach
Don't make yourselves a target
For those guns up there to reach
Keep moving lads ... keep moving
There's the seawall ... over there
Keep moving lads ... keep moving
Don't falter ... or despair
Don't look ... at comrades falling
Around you ... everywhere
Keep moving lads ... keep moving
We can take this ... on the chin
Keep moving ... and keep praying
Before those guns ... they zero in.


A Quiet Place

 

It's quiet here ... so quiet

Standing on this hill

But if I stand here too much longer

My eyes with tears will fill

Looking down ... I'm there again

On that beach ... just down below

Far different ... to that morning

That I remember so

That beach ... it was a hell on earth

Where no man ... should ever go

I remember

I was down there

I should know

Don't cry now ... dear old soldier

That was many years ago


The Coxswain

There are forty of us waiting
In this little LCA
We sailors ... and these soldiers
We're taking in today
They came aboard our mother ship
Now several days ago
They're growing very pale
As the strain begins to show
They're only boys ... the most of them
Eighteen to twenty three
For some of them ... tomorrow
Is a day ... they'll never see
I can't promise we'll all make it lads
But I'll do my best ... you'll see
I'll remember you young soldiers
This day ... in Normandy
God bless you lads ... and keep you safe
We'll meet again ... one day
This is it then lads, keep your heads down
AWAY ALL BOATS ... AWAY.


I Stand Here Now

I stand here now
Amongst ... brave men
With whom ... I've stood before
The last time ... when we landed
On June 6th of '44
Back then ... we were all young men
Eighteen or little more
Their lives ... cut short ... that morning
On this distant ... windswept shore
I stand here now ... and wonder
What would they ... have become
Had they survived ...  that morning
Their lives ... allowed full run
One thing ...  I know ...  for certain
Of which ... there is ... no doubt
These brave young men
My pals ... from then
Would be ... old
White haired ... with wrinkled brow
Just like me ...
As I stand here ... now.


Any Moment Now
 

The noise ... it will begin

As bombarding ships and rocket ships

Send their salvos whistling in

Any moment now

These landing craft will move

Making for the beaches

Defenders ... to remove

Any moment now

There will be many a silent prayer

As these craft attain the beaches

So close now ... see them there
Any moment now

Men and craft ... they will be hit

It is then ... we'll be required

To show we have true grit

Any moment now

I will be watching comrades fall

Be ready Lord ... above the noise

Listen ... for my call

I do not know if I will cope

Please ... stand by me ... show me how

I'm going to need you ... more than ever

Any moment now.


The Commando Memorial

by

Archie MacLellan

The sun shone down upon the snow
Atop Aonach and the Ben,
As in the shadows there trained below
A finest group of fighting men,
None braver lived is to be said
Honour flowed throughout their veins,
Freedom bred, Lord Lovat led
Their lives to stop dictators' gains.

They gave it their all for the nation they served
Their courage maintained foreign parts,
A Memorial stands proud down in Spean

Let us all build one more in our hearts.

With command for to land on the shore at Sword Beach
On the Sixth Day of June Forty Four,
A place in our history was now within reach
The Piper to take them ashore,
Though danger around him, The Piper gave stand
He stuck to his task without care,
His march unrepentant, as if claiming the land
As ‘Road To The Isles’ filled the air.
Battle ferocious, the enemy strong
Sweat mixed with sand mixed with mud,
Young men unrelenting though battle was long
The water still flows with their blood.

They gave it their all for the nation they served
Their courage maintained foreign parts,
A Memorial stands proud down in Spean
Let us all build one more in our hearts.

Perished did men still young in their years
The land of our birth lost Her Sons,
But liveth they on in Remembrance tears
Liveth on how they silenced the guns,
Lest we forget the Sacrifice
In our Bloody Wars were made,
That Sacrifice that takes us here
Can never be repaid.

They gave it their all for the nation they served
Their courage maintained foreign parts,
A Memorial stands proud down in Spean
Let us all build one more in our hearts.

2003 [Photo of the Commando Memorial courtesy of Stephen Eblet.]

 


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