Sixth June 1944

                Sixth June 1944                         (D-Day)        I tell a child’s tale with the words An adult uses, to describe Impressions from the distant past, Responding to recalled events More recently experienced.       Four o’clock in […]

 

              Sixth June 1944

                        (D-Day)

 

     I tell a child’s tale with the words

An adult uses, to describe

Impressions from the distant past,

Responding to recalled events

More recently experienced.

 

    Four o’clock in the morning, wakened

By a strange sensation. The whole house

Trembling like a frightened child.

The air itself vibrating and a dull

Throbbing noise gnawing my eardrums.

     The hordes of cockroaches that haunt

The cellars, (used for shelter when

The bombs are falling near), must feel

Afraid, I think, that any moment now

They might be crushed in their deep dens.

(I smile to think those noxious, silent

Scavengers might feel a sense

 Of mortal fear as, in the gloom,

They scurry in the dusty rooms!).

 

     I go to the window and draw

Aside the blackout screen. My eight-

Years young eyes widen with surprise.

The air is crowded with dark shapes

That overlap in layered heights;

So many that there is no space for sky.

Innumerable warplanes – bombers,

Fighters, troopers, freighters and tugs

Towing gross gliders in their wakes –

All heading roughly South and West.

     The trees and hedges round the lawn

Shaking as if they are disturbed

By downdraughts generated from

Those countless airscrews overhead

Churning the humid atmosphere.

     Awestruck, I watch the endless flow

Of raucous-engined juggernauts

Flooding overhead, my brain

Buzzing from disturbing din

And questionings. What did it mean?.

Where were they going?. Why so many,

Swarming like sharks towards some scented

Prey still unaware of their approach?.

 

     At least two hours I stood and stared

At this spectacular  parade

Of aerial formations, then

I went downstairs and turned

The wireless on, (pre-tuned to BBC),

To hear the sounds of martial music

Blaring above the noise outside,

But interrupted regularly by

A bodiless announcer’s voice

That solemnly declared – although

I cannot now recall the precise words

Deployed in formal, measured tones  –

“Today, Tuesday  the sixth of June,

Allied forces are landing on

 Normandy beaches to expel

The Nazis occupying France.

God save Britain! God save the King!”.

     So that was why the morning air

Was gorged with military planes!.

My young heart thrilled. At last,

After so many mayhem years,

The hated Nazis would be taught

A lesson they could not forget.

 

     In the lightening skies of dawn

Above the rooftop and the trees,

Between thin shattered shards of blue,

The aerial fleets continued to fly;

     But I was simply overjoyed

To think that, (before long), the war

Might end and peace return again

To wounded Britain and the world.

 

     I sighed and hoped that could be true

Before another year would pass,

Then turned again to watch the sky

Until it was my breakfast time:

(Hot porridge, bread with dripping, tea).

     Life must go on, no matter what

Momentous battles must be fought

In foreign lands, or over them,

(By countless heroes whom no-one yet knows),

To bring the conflict to a winning close.

 

Notes:

  1. The 70th Anniversary of D-Day in 2014 stirred these eye-witness recollections of that day (6th June 1944). I lived, throughout World War II, near Newmarket (Suffolk), close to Mildenhall and several other major military airfields. The massive airlift to Normandy and France continued for several consecutive days, albeit with gradually diminishing intensity.
  2. I learned, not many days later, that Winston Churchill had insisted – despite strong American pressure for an alternative plan – that the Allied invasion (Operation Overlord) should take place in Normandy as a symbolic reverse counterpart to the Norman invasion of England in 1066.
  3. The War in Europe ended on VE-Day (8th May 1945), just 11 months after the events described in these verses. (Adolf Hitler, the German leader, had committed suicide on 30th April 1945).
  4. Three months after VE-Day, on 15th August 1945, the Japanese surrendered following the use of the first atomic bombs by the Americans on 6th August at Hiroshima and 9th August at Nagasaki.
  5. This date (15th August 1945) marked the official end of World War II.

                                                                                                                                       J.A.B.

Author: J. A. Bosworth

See Home Page on this site.

See all posts by (357)

Comments are disabled in this entry.