They came across the sea to fight,
Against the evil Reich.
On crowded ships, they head for shore
In practice for the strike.
Like statues in the night, the ships
Lay silhouetted clear.
The crews aboard, new not the cost,
A cost which would prove dear.
An escort lacking from the fleet,
Had left an open gap,
The German wolves came into view,
And crushed them in the trap.
Alarm bells rang, sirens wailed,
At action stations call.
The landing craft, were big and slow
Their foes were swift and small.
Torpedoes loosed, targets hit.
They made their dash for home.
Behind them, burning smoking wrecks
Lay sinking in the foam.
Upon the wrecks, the brave stood tall,
As tongues of fire seared,
The icy waters down below,
Held death the sailors feared.
As ships sank neath the blood flecked foam,
The men that had swum free,
A host of wounded freezing souls ,
That daylight would not see.
The rescue crews did all they could,
But few were left to save,
For those that lived, a secret sworn,
The dead a secret grave.
As war clouds cleared from Europe's shores,
Time sped on a pace.
But those brave souls, whose lives were lost,
No stone their names would grace.
Their secret safely locked away,
In shrouds of mystery,
The man in black, pulled back the shrouds,
To set the secret free.
A monument now stands in steel,
Upon that lonely shore
A focal point for those that grieve,
Their loved ones lost in war..........
(Left) The Sherman tank, found of the coast of the South Hams.
(Centre) Slapton Ley, behind the main beach at Slapton sands, the villiage of Torcross in the rear. All the area was taken over by the Americans to practice for the D Day landings during World War II.
(Right) Mr Ken Small: his book, "The Forgotten Dead", tells the story of the disaster that led to the deaths of many young American soldiers and sailors involved in "Operation Tiger", of the coast of Devon. He organised the lifting and placement of the Sherman tank, as a memorial to those brave men whose sacrifice had been shrouded in secrecy for many years. I have read the book over and over, wearing out three copies and no book has inspired me more. I wrote the poem above whilst sat upon the beach at Slapton and dedicate it in memory of all those who fell in combat, to ensure the freedoms that we all take for granted.........