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.
"Crossing the Bar" is an 1889 poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson is believed to have written the poem (after suffering a serious illness) while on the sea - an extended metaphor to compare death with crossing the "sandbar" between the river of life, with its outgoing "flood", and the ocean that lies beyond death, the "boundless deep", to which we return.Sunset and evening star,And one clear call for me!And may there be no moaning of the bar,When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep,Too full for sound and foam,When that which drew from out the boundless deepTurns again home. Twilight and evening bell,And after that the dark!And may there be no sadness of farewell,When I embark; For tho' from out our bourne of Time and PlaceThe flood may bear me far,I hope to see my Pilot face to faceWhen I have crossed the bar.