A.R. “David” Lewis
Beat the drum louder; pipe the pipes faster,
That is the way to drown out disaster.
The soldiers all huddled on sand dunes;
They had been fighting for days, without sleep.
They marched and they fought, in advance and retreat,
To end up on a beach and wait for a boat.
Shot up, bombed, and worse with nothing to eat.
Long lines of Soldiers leading into the sea,
Others lay face down, in the incoming surf;
They had paid the price of a soldier in war.
Some lay on stretchers, their minds past caring,
Orderlies and doctors had done their best.
The backdrop of smoke from the Township burning,
The dark silhouettes on the smashed up jetty,
Boats on their sides, with their sterns in the air
Exploding and smoking, crews swimming free,
Struggling and screaming from their burns and wounds.
The diving planes screamed in, each in its turn,
Adding still more death, and destruction.
Then in the night, the sound of men singing;
A group of Welsh Guardsmen in dry throated harmony
Soon to be joined by others, to voice their defiance.
And down on the shore, flashing and sparkling,
The fluorescent sand shone in all its brilliance.
Then the boats came in and took off some more.
The kind hearted people met those who returned,
With tea and cakes, and cigarette rations,
They welcomed us with smiling kindness,
No-one would have guessed at their Soldier’s plight.
For this was the Army’s greatest retreat.
The masters in Whitehall, masters still,
Their mistakes and blunders merely bad luck.
So Generals get Knighthoods, Politicians get votes,
A medal for the Soldiers for the hell of Dunkirk.
Beat the drum louder, pipe the pipes faster,
That is the way they covered up disaster.
©Copyright 2004 by A.R. “David” Lewis
A photograph that graphically captures the desperate situation our troops were really in during the evacuation. Here we see a company of men huddled together in every available space on the deck of one of the rescue ships.