Heroes by David PartridgeDon't speak to me of heroes until you've heard the taleOf Britain's merchant seamen who sailed through storm and galeTo keep those lifelines open in our hour of needWhen a tyrant cast a shadow across our Island breedCaptains, greasers, cabin boys, mates and engineers Heard the call to duty and cast aside their fearsThey stoked those hungry boilers and stood behind the wheelWhile cooks and stewards manned the guns on coffins made of steelThey moved in icy convoys from Scapa to MurmanskAnd crossed the western ocean, never seeking thanks.They sailed the South Atlantic where raiders lay in waitAnd kept the food lines open from Malta to the Cape.Tracked by silent U-boats which hunted from below,Shelled by mighty cannons and fighter's flying low,They clung to burning lifeboats when the sea had turned to flameAnd watched their ship mates disappear to everlasting fame.I speak not of a handful but 3O,OOO plus,Some whose names we'll never know in whom we placed our trust. They never knew the honour of medals on their chestsOr marching bands and victory and glory and the rest.The ocean is their resting place, their tombstone is the wind,The seabirds cry their last goodbye to family and friend. Freighters, troopships, liners and tankers by the score,Fishing boats and coasters, 2OOO ships and moreThey flew the Red Duster as they sank beneath the wavesAnd took those countless heroes to lonely ocean graves.Their legacy is freedom to those who hold it dearTo walk with clear horizons and never hide in fearSo when you speak of heroes remember those at seaFrom Britain's Merchant Navy who died to keep us free.
Hi folks, it's me, Dennis - and as one who likes to walk along our lovely Weymouth Promenade looking out across the bay and into the English Channel, I'm always so thankful to those who sailed the oceans to keep us safe from harm and supplied with the necessities of life.I'm often reminded of those words from Psalm 107: “Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.”Our journeys across the waters may be short. For some of our holidaymakers it might be a mere 60 yards across the harbour by rowing boat. For others, it might be just 60 miles across the channel to Cherbourg, or the long thirteen thousand miles to Sydney Australia.But the sea has always played a great part in the life of our Nation - especially in bringing food and other resources to our Island Home in time of war.Those of us who stand before our Memorial to the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets, will be for ever grateful to those who gave their lives in the causes of justice and freedom. Since November 2016, the five-ton Portland Stone memorial has been a focal point for our grateful thanks to those who sailed their vessels in perilous times across the seas.For the few who now remain and can recall those hazardous days - we join with you in times and anniversaries of these seasons of Remembrance.Weymouth Bay round to Portland Bill on a quiet and clear sunny day is loved by so many and yet the storms that so often crash in upon us serve to remind us of the dangers and challenges that our mariners so frequently face.That we do this act of Remembrance and Thanksgiving seems almost insufficient as a way of expressing our thankfulness for those who make the supreme sacrificeWe here may look around to the beautiful hills of Dorset and its now world-famous Jurassic Coast that serve as a dramatic backdrop to the sea. The sea that in its various moods and moments has, over centuries, been such a special place for so many here.Families and friends today we welcome and support one another. May our grateful memories for the past and the deeds of the people whom we remember inspire us to live in peace and hope for the times ahead.A prayerAlmighty God, who created the sea and the sky and whose Son calmed angry waves with words of Peace, remember, with your generous love that lasts forever, those who go down to the sea in ships, and carry out business on the great waters.As we recall those who in past years have given their lives for our freedom, keep us ever grateful for their sacrifice and mindful of their past deeds, and inspire us to live with courage and hope for the years that lie ahead.Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.