Dunkirk Remembered in Verse

Bryan Roskams was 9 years old, living in the Customs House in the High Street, when he saw the six Leigh boats passing Strand wharf on their way to take part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk.

Bryan, now living in Wickford, saw the recent report in the Echo covering this year's return and contacted the Trust.

A few years ago about the time of the 70th anniversary  Bryan wrote this poem which he is only too pleased to share with us. It is one of about fifty poems that he has written and are due to be published later this year.

The Miracle of Dunkirk by Bryan Roskams

The year was nineteen thirty nine
And England was running scared
Germany had invaded Poland
And nobody really cared.

Then our shores were threatened,
And we saw it in a different light
“Chamberlain” gave away some land
He thought we wouldn’t have to fight.

The Prime Minister told us “don’t worry”
We now have” peace in our time”
So the country relaxed and said thank god
Now every things going to be fine.

But Germany’s leader had other ideas,
He wanted a completely open door.
He reneged on his solemn word,
And so England went to war!

Husbands, sons and lovers
All rallied to the call,
Willing to fight for their country.
Ready to stand or fall.

They said goodbye to their loved ones,
Not knowing if they would see them again,
But most of the young men enjoyed,
They thought it was just a big game!

The war had only just started
When the fight took a turn for the worse,
Our boy’s were pushed back to the beach at Dunkirk,
And whatever they did they were cursed.

Thousands of soldiers were trapped by the sea
All huddled and strewn on the beach,
The dive bomber’s came and blew them to bits,
They were so very easy to reach.

And then came a modern day miracle
The rescue of our boys from the sand,
Boats of all shapes and sizes
Were taking them back to England.

Fishing boats, pleasure boats and sail boats.
All chugged on through the night,
When they reached the Dunkirk waters,
They were never to forget the sight!

There were queues of men in the water,
Cold and soaked through to the bone,
Some swimming out to meet the boats
And hoping to get back home.

The bravery of those little boat skippers,
Who sailed willingly into hell
Pulling the army off a graveyard beach
Is a very true story to tell,

It was an amazing achievement
And no matter what you hear,
If it had not been for those little boats,
Not many of us would be here!

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