Nene K270 - Poems by Crew Members
Sam's Latest Poems - THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! Nov. 11, 2006 & LEST WE FORGET Aug. 15, 2004 - (VJ Day plus 59 years)
By Whatever Name
- Ron Graham

Action Stations!!
- Sam Forsythe

- Senator Rupert Davies
All 47 poems below are by Sam Forsythe.
S.S. CUBA - R.I.P. - April 6, 1945
H.M.C.S. REGINA - K-234


LEST WE FORGET Aug. 15, 2004 - (VJ Day plus 59 years)
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! - Ottawa Remembrance Day Service - 2006

By Whatever Name
by Ronald Graham

Was it born of the melt of the fading ice,
That once held the land in its gripping vise?
Or perhaps from the uplift of the surrounding terrain,
That we now look upon as the Pennine Chain?
Did it rise as a spring, midst the bracken and the stone,
And through time, and through changes, struggle on alone:
Or was it a lake, that broke free of its bounds,
To tumble away across the land that surrounds,
In its journey to meet the changeless sea,
The source of it all, whatever it be.

Down the eastern slope of the Cotswold Hills,
The river flows until it fills
Its banks, to flow now in a tranquil way,
'Cross the Fens, 'til at last it comes to the bay
Called the Wash, and there on the English shore,
It meets the North Sea, lost forever more
In the tides and mists of elusive dreams;
But, no, its line on the map remains,
To show to all men that the River Nene
Is part of the ongoing, changing scene.

And, too, there was born in this brave land,
Out of strife, out of struggle, yes out of demand
For strength to add to a hard pressed fleet,
That fought to throw off an impending defeat,
New ships, new ideas, to come on the scene,
And one of these the good ship Nene.
Built at South Bank-on-Tees, we are told;
Laid down, completed, and joined the fold
In less than a year, so great was the call
For help, in the conflict that bound us all.

Like her namesake, the ship, in war,struggled on
To find a place in the laurels to be won,
Of peace and contentment away from the fray,
Relief from the storm, in some sheltered bay.
Her living, her life, through time of travail
Can relate, only briefly, to the River's trail
That, ongoing, endless, o'er the changing years
Prevails, not tormented by nagging fears;
The ship, in honour, now in history's page,
While the River lives on, through age upon age.

Have you noticed how this story can tell
Something of our being, our living as well?
How we borrow a name for a few short years,
And then pass it on after finishing here?
It's quite an honour to carry a name,
That's been given to use in this on-going game
Called life, however we may choose to live,
It's ours to hold and its's ours to give.
All to the good, and nothing to hide,
So treat it well, and treat it with pride.

Lower Sackville February 1989


Action Stations !!!
by Sam Forsythe

Action Stations! How we dreaded that bell and yell!
Action Stations! Is this when I leave my cell for hell?
Action Stations! Where's my ruddy bloody life jacket?
Action Stations! Is this the end of this Naval packet?

Action Stations! Today, they are just two ordinary words,
Action Stations! But then, we would break sprint records;
Action Stations! Never believe we'd achieve such speed;
Action Stations! Was a signal we soon learned to heed!

Action Stations! Bermuda? Mattered not what your attire;
Action Stations! Murmansk? So cold we needed heat of fire!
Action Stations! North Sea? Believe us, no thanks for a swim;
Action Stations! North Atlantic? Survival chances damn slim!

Action Stations! Azores? Wine ours if we arrived a-floating;
Action Stations! English Channel? That's rough even boating!
Action Stations! Is this Barents Sea or maybe Biscay Bay?
Action Stations! Why's my post from the mess so far away?

Action Stations! Pentland Firth? Popped a lot of rivets there;
Action Stations! Scapa Flow? Don't dare go up top in underwear!
Action Stations! The Royal Oak bought it from Nazi Prien,
Action Stations! Let's get outa here, he'll not get Nene!

Action Stations! Irish Sea? Not shamrock green, like we were; Action Stations! Sicker we've never been, seasick as a cur! Action Stations! Frightening, terrorizing, terrifying indeed; Action Stations! To Western Approaches at our maximum speed!

Action Stations! Yells and bells are but a memory nowadays;
Action Stations! Unpleasant experiences, ordeals most 'ways;
Action Stations! JW-Six Two to Murmansk,White Sea, and back;
Action Stations! A rough convoy, cost our Liberty Boat! Alack!

Action Stations! Notice Captain Shaw always beats me here?
Action Stations! Doesn't the Old Man sleep, has he no fear?
Action Stations! Hope afterwards he splits the "Main Brace"
Action Stations! But I'll end up with "kye" without "lace"!

Action Stations! Isn't it fortunate how soon we can forget?
Action Stations! Memories recur chatting with a brother "vet";
Action Stations! But still today, hearing a specific knell!
Action Stations! Memories flood back of that fearful bell!

Action Stations! Wonder if someone chimes that eerie sound
Action Stations! Will I from my six-foot deep crypt abound?
Action Stations! No! Please! Let us rest in peace at last;
Action Stations! To respond no more to that unearthly blast!

Pickering, Ontario
Remembrance Day, November 11, 1988


Near the end of the War, Senator Rupert Davies wrote a news article relating some of his experiences in England and his voyages across the Atlantic. In that article, he rewrites a poem that he learned in Sunday school, capturing the essence of sea travel for many.

The original poem reads:

A little ship was on the sea,
It was a pretty sight;
It sailed along so merrily
And all was calm and bright.

Senator Davies wished to expunge, "... that smug and misleading verse ... and submit a paraphrase".

A little ship was on the sea,
Just why, I cannot tell;
It hopped about from wave to wave,
And made me feel like ----.

(Source: Peterborough Examiner)


Aboard HMCS Nene were many ships,
First and foremost were friendships,
Leadership received from Captain Shaw.
A finer "Old Man" you never "saw".

Comradeships are forever and ever;
Fellowship that no one could sever;
Dockyard mateys craftsmanship fine
When we were repaired on River Tyne.

Our ship was famous for brotherhood,
Pride so great that no one ever could
Forget that brave crew of the Nene--
Finer matelots have never been seen!

HMCS Nene was a River Class--no peer!
Notice use of the word "class" here;
Many ports visited, but would leave pier
Whenever chance of service did appear.

We neglected to mention seamanship,
At that our crew were really quite hip;
No Aone-up-man-ship in our crew,
We got along just great let me tell you.




A boy stood on "Nene's" ice-coated deck
(Until then, he never swore more'n "heck")
But Whammo! when a fifty-footer hit . . .
Said something sounded like thisisit!

The noisy winds drowned out Fred's voice
But, fortunately, Ralph made a wise choice;
And, as young Freddie came up for air,
Ralph saved Fred by grabbing hair.

Freddie, being saved from going under,
Embarrassed from making such a blunder,
Said: "Don't think I'm the kind of dope
"who'd go for a bath without my soap!"

Acts of bravery those days--a sure bet--
Rest assured that Fred would never forget
His friend (to this very day) who did help,
Saving him forever from the ocean kelp.

RALPH: AB Ralph Patterson, S.D., V64078, Windsor, Hants, Nova Scotia
FRED: Stoker 1/class Frederick A. Rodway, V43793, Red Deer, Alberta

Sam Forsythe, Poetaster/Signalman - 1988.


S.S. CUBA - R.I.P. - April 6, 1945

Ernst Cordes had an illustrious career
Celebrated by many pints of German beer;
Decorated commander of many a submarine
In '45, the U1195, one of the finest seen.

Admiral Doenitz gave Cordes orders to sink
Troop and supply ships in the Channel drink;
Cordes succeeded in "fishing" the Cuba ship,
Eleven thousand ton transport taking the dip.

East of St. Catherine's Point she did bite,
U1195 got her in front of the Isle of Wight;
Nene, HMS Watchman and Hoste saw the douche
Along with the French corvette "L'Escarmouche".

Nene, bravely stopping, picked up Cuba's crew
Saved two hundred sixty-five, quite a few;
While HMS Watchman fired her hedgehogs,
Knocking Cordes' submarine outta those bogs.

U1195 lights went out, took water badly,
Her instruments crashed and shattered fully,
The forward compartment water-heavy we recall,
Couldn't be moved on the Channel floor at all.

Not expecting to be hit, her young brave men,
Weren't prepared to surface, least not then,
Few were wearing escape vests as she lay,
Only eighteen submariners saw light of day.

Just a month before we signed the truce
Those torpedoes and hedgehogs went loose;
If only there could be some more humane way;
If only we could erase memories of that day!




Up in the Moray Firth we swept,
Back and forth, no one slept,
Hours of "Action Stations" tense,
Some in fog that was very dense.

None of us will forget the day
While creeper attacking Scapa way
In the shallows of Pentland Firth
We gave Jerry all we were worth.

Back and forth we attacked that "U"
But the firth was not deep, I tell you,
The sub crew soon were water mopping,
Alas, we ceased as rivets were popping.

Bulkhead water was mixing with oil,
Now it was time for mateys to toil;
No one'll forget the water spout
Where each of those rivets came out.

While in drydock most could see
The damage we received, lucky we;
The other noticeable thing we'd say
One of our anchors had gone "away".

As kids at school we studied "so-so"
With little thought we would ever go
Where the Romans built Hadrian's Wall,
And at Wallsend have such a ball!

Remember North Shields Workers Halls,
Newcastle dances, old-fashioned balls,
Travelling on the electric train to play
Arcades and games at Whitley Bay?

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne was a welcome rest
As we put those people to the Nene test;
Those Geordies treated us just fine,
Glad we were repaired on the River Tyne.




The Channel may not be the worst water body
But it treated our ship rather shoddy;
One could readily understand the Nazi Axis
Not invading, as you can't cross with ease.

Sailing by the White Cliffs of Dover
Made one wonder why we bothered to go over;
The "white" in those cliffs, believe you me,
Was so dirty grey the Channel looked pretty.

April 6th in '45 the SS Cuba went for broke
We picked up most of her crew ere last choke;
There were many we saved, many we got alive,
For a total of two hundred and sixty-five!

Freddie Levesque and friends took a whaler boat
All the way ashore to LeHavre they did float,
It was more than anyone could possibly "ken"
Because LeHavre was a flattened shambles then.

Freddie couldn't explain why he took the chance
'Less it to be able to say he'd been in France;
Our good old captain turned his head t'other way
But "Jimmy The One" never forgave Fred that day.

Remember, when we reminisce about our Old Man,
Please imagine me as a teenager, if you can;
While in our mess the oldest was six-and-twenty!
The Old Man was almost twice my age, that's plenty!



I mentioned elsewhere that Eric Shaw
Wasn't of an age one could call raw
But today, forty-four years we must add,
And now we realize he was but a mere lad!

Isn't it strange how one's values change,
Ideas change and we realize how strange
How could we think or believe he was old,
He was close half of what I'm now, I'm told.,

Nene's crew of men/boys were sure in bliss
Having an Old Man with experience like his,
Pre-war navigator on a famous shipping line,
He never got us lost, which was just fine.

Don't know how he treated the older crew
But we young signalmen certainly knew
Our inexperience in matters of the Navy
Never was recorded for anyone else to see.

Don't ever remember an order in voice gruff
Never ever acted or talked like a "tough"
Goodness knows how many times he saved me
From the wrath of the "First" called Jimmy!

Wireless Tel Bob Watson says this is true!
I am merely passing this tale on to you:
That when Howie Elliott was late for duty
I greeted my relief with a boot quite free.

How'd one guess the Old Man was coming up
To the bridge station (I was late for sup);
To explain the error, we were bundled warm
So that kick in the duffle coat did no harm.

The way Bob explains it, our kind Old Man
Passed that kick on to a startled signalman;
Howie, like the rest of us in Nene's crew
Never questioned what our Old Man should do,

The tale is heresy, the tale is Tel Bob's,
He'll swear it is true but I ask you gobs,
Do you think any other ship's Old Man would
Kick a signalman where it'd do him most good?



Hey, Sig, what's the latest news?
Has the Skipper given you any views
Of where we are headed and/or when
Please, are we going now or then?

Going on watch, or coming off of it,
Joe Hoey wanted to know the latest bit
Some of the buzzes we gave that tar
Had us going north, south and very far.

Being a small runt I didn't dare
Cross that huge man with unruly hair
Little did I know in the future years
A little hangnail would give him tears.

Yes, my friends, he turned out to be
An upright respected citizen (same as me)
Little did I know some forty years ago
He'd be so well respected in Peterborough.





Have you ever noticed how some people are
Smiling, with kind words for another tar,
One like this we of the Nene crew knew--
Al Ring made friends quickly with you.

Al was a "Ping Merchant" (that's Asdic).
His ears listening for a ping to pick;
No matter how rough the sea or the tour
Al's smiling and grinning would endure.

Down in the mess he would ever skylark
Never fearing an officer's sour bark
Never down in the dumps was our Al Ring
Forever full of fun and always smiling.

Al attended our reunion full of vim
It sure was good to see Min with him;
We soon forgot the forty passing years
Hearing stories in laughter and tears.
Two years went quickly by and once again
We partied, out near where there's grain
Al's health had deteriorated more than less
But no one could take away his cheerfulness.

In Winnipeg thoughts would fondly roam
While in a hot tub of whirling foam--
Min, explaining the care of my bad back
Assuming I had more troubles than hers to hack.

Our "pinger" didn't let health get in the way
He was never down in the dumps we all can say
Skylarking, seemingly with ne'er a care
(Whenever possible getting in Newitt's hair).

Who, but Al in Regina's weather below zero,
Would construct an outdoor lounge patio
With, of all things, an open fireplace
To warm his Saskatchewan backyard space!

We are having another reunion in eighty-nine
We are sure the get-together will be fine
Of course some won't make it, like Al Ring,
But we hope everyone else can, God willing.



How those words rolled off the tongue
Like Master-at-Arms, Captain of the Gun;
Of Horatio Nelson, other Navy lore,
Enchanting, traditions by the score.

Nene sigs had enough of ineptness
When our leading sig left us in a mess;
We needed leadership (that's not funny)
Luck was ours when we got "Bunny".

"Yeoman of Signals of HMCS Nene":
Ronnie, Howie, Rod and I had seen
No role model worthy to imitate
Until "Bunny" came aboard that date.

From ashore at Newfy this salt came
Told us George Roberts was his name
How'll we get along with this old tar
We'd have to find out just how far.

Proving to be an experienced signalman
He showed us much as tar and gentleman
Soon we learned he was a regular guy
Whose lasting friendship we'd gladly buy.

"Bunny" taught us quite a lot of lore
He was a yeoman who knew the score
A kind and gentle man was our "Yeo"
But cross him and off Nene you'd go!

Responsibility ours, the signal books,
In case of enemy getting any looks
Directly responsible was "Bunny" for this
Sink the books--this job not to miss.

He had his own ideas what he'd do
If the Nene was definitely through
He wouldn't neglect his sworn vow
He'd dispose of books o'er the bow.
Our lifejackets were equipped for us
To float with least amount of cuss
When we saw "Bunny's" equipment, by gum,
Each wee pocket held a bottle of rum!

A toy whistle wouldn't help we were told
Rum's the only thing to keep out the cold
A flickering light on a hat my chum
Couldn't compare to a belly full of rum.

"Bunny", a P.O., could draw his grog;
Impossible for an under-age seadog;
Pussers was off-limits to kids, I say,
As my station card was stamped a big "U.A."

The idea, so he explained to his sigs,
He'd not be cold after a few swigs;
Bobbing in the ocean waves, our "Yeo",
Would float "high"--never a cold toe!


You wonder what happened to "Bunny", eh?
After spending some time on the railway
He retired and now is living in North Bay
(Still doesn't give any of his rum away).

"Bunny" married a pretty young W.R.E.N.,
He says she's still as pretty as then,
Edna deserves her retirement now--when,
She's enjoying life and nice grandchildren.

January 6, 1989.


How many ship's must a man sail in,
before he's called "matelot"?
How man seas must he sail on,
before he's in a heavy blow?
How many action stations must he see,
before he has leave on shore?

The answer my mate, is this war's end,
The answer is this war's end.

How many days must a man look out,
before he sees reprieve?
How many weeks must a man spend,
before he gets a leave?
How many friends must he see die,
before he gets to go ashore?

The answer my mate, is this war's end,
The answer is this war's end.

How many years can this life exist,
before it is also complete?
How many years can it go on like this,
before he can leave the fleet?
How many years can this life last,
before he sees death even more?

The answer my mate, is this war's end,
The answer is this war's end.

January, 1989.

To Ron Graham:

"Bunting Tosser" is Navy talk for signalman;
"Bunny" was a sports reporter at The Telegram;
"Bunt" was a Toronto rugby player, green;
What is that got to do with HMCS Nene?
Do you believe in it being a small world?
Do you think lives have previously unfurled?
When you meet someone for the first time
Is there instant rapport, no reason or rhyme?

After the war, working at the Toronto Telegram,
A well-known sports reporter said: "Hello, Sam"
This huge man (reminded me of O'Connor, John)
Became friend and confidant from that day on.
"Bunny" Morganson of our sports room staff
Would get on my back when I tried for a laugh
Typesetting his byline every once in a while,
I would put "F" instead of "B" for a smile.

Expecting the proofreader would surely notice,
Alas, one day, the paper hit the streets as this,
"Funny" Morganson stormed into the composing room:
Have you ever faced your end, your certain doom?
Our friendship stood the test, for me, very well
But I deserved it when he gave me proper hell;
From that day the bonds of our friendship grew
He proved to be a friend through and through.

I never knew how he got his "Bunny" nickname;
One day I mentioned another with one the same,
(As I stated earlier it's really a small world)
When I mentioned Roberts, his hair near curled!
"Bunny's" hair admittedly past the curling stage
Having lost most all of it at a very early age;
He turned on me and loudly demanded to know
How I knew George Roberts, that so-and-so!

Further cementing of our friendship then grew
When we discussed football and the old ORFU;
The Oakwood Indians I followed, my local crew,
Unaware for Toronto Westsides my "Yeo" once flew.
"Bunny" informed me while writing his reports
He admired the aggressive player named Roberts
Who was given the name "Bunt" by his grandmother
Morganson gave him his, Roberts then used no other.

The morale of this, your indulgence I implore,
I believe the three of us must have met before;
Morganson is long gone (to a much better place);
It is my belief we'll meet again face to face.

January 16, 1989.



Three young signalmen standing before Number One,
Wondering what on earth we had or hadn't done;
"Any three others would have been my first choice!
"Looking at your records I do anything but rejoice!"
What, if anything, in our records would irk wrath?
Why was The Jimmy so mad that we'd crossed his path?

We were clearing the Juicers trash, best we could,
If his was a better way we'd use it, we surely would
When asked why our "no offenses" records upset him so,
He wanted those who'd served time in glasshouse row;
His seamen, he said, were hard, a tough lot of men
Whose records read of the trouble they had up to then.

We should've apologized to the "One" of the Nene
Saying we were sorry to be naive, young and green;
To hear Al Turner tell tales of our Number One,
He wanted ex-cons, not just any son of a gun;
A criminal record was an asset to our Mr. Taylor,
Otherwise you certainly weren't his kind of sailor.

Eventually we earned the Exec Officer's respect;
We even learned swear words much worse than "heck";
To make the story shorter, I can honestly say this:
'Twasn't long ere Taylor's toughest we didn't miss--
The really "worst" ones were soon shipped ashore;
Then Jimmy had to put up with our kind--what a bore!

January 18, 1989.



No matter which watch you were standing
You'd see the Upper Deck Stoker wand'ring
Always an oily rag in hand, smiling as well,
He was proud of his ship, this you could tell.

We had a standing joke on board the Nene
We'd reward anyone who claimed to have seen
Our smiling, happy-go-lucky 30-year-old kid
Actually working (at whatever it was he did).

Kind to all, this stoker was always obliging,
Of upper deck he'd inform you he was the king
Do anything to help and ask if he could do more;
You wondering why he paid us no mind on shore?

Herb Sharpe was this old tar's official name
When it came to shore leave, what a shame!
Anyone who tried to keep up to Bruce and he
Would need to have tremendous capacity!

Ashore, to keep up to his thirty-year-old pace
Too much, too fast, for any teenager--his pace,
One procedure he could always count on each trip
Was Bruce's brother Ross would get him back to ship.

Ross Newitt could be relied on to push and goad
Them down past the shirt factory to Strand Road
Across the narrow gangway making both salute
How Herb and Bruce always got back was real cute.

Peacetime came and our kind old Herb Sharp
Never found fault in others, he'd never harp,
The Colonel Streight Legion were lucky to get
This hard-working volunteer, the Nene's old vet.

It is our understanding that Herb worked fine
Committees such as sports were his best line;
A faithful Branch 210 member we understand
No finer former Upper Deck Stoker in the land.



"Work-ups" were conducted in Bermuda--
We were a "motley crew" I assure ya;
The one thing I remember most distinct:
"Don't think the rum here you can drink!"

"It's more powerful; watch your every move";
Of course everyone had to try to prove
It takes more than Island rum to down us
No bus service--so we "missed" the last bus!

The weather was hot; I think it was July,
How come we're there then I don't know why;
When I think about it now that I remember
We were in Murmansk the next December!

The air temperature on the bridge was HOT
If I had a chance as stoker I'd rather not
In fact, the first non-work-up signal I had,
Requested medical help for a young stoker lad.

It is a small world, I repeat once again,
I don't like to keep repeating that refrain;
But when I read that kid's rank and name
A guy in my public school was named the same.

It couldn't be Len Gunter I knew back then,
He was at least a year younger, was Len;
But when from that Hades-HOT stoker hold...
On a stretcher was Len shivering cold!

It was good to know that one of our crew
Was someone from home that I once knew;
Friendship aboard ship didn't develop
His place was in the hold, mine up.

January, 1989.



Many different types served on the Nene
From the naivest to almost the obscene;
One who for a short time was on Nene pay
Came from Glace Bay, down Cape Breton way;
Can't remember the reason for his draft
But he ended on the Monnow tied up aft.

In Derry one day he and I went for a walk
He was in a determined mood, full of talk;
He described to me a little Irish colleen
Whom he had befriended while on the Nene;
Seemed this child almost broke his heart
He did so much want to help, do his part.

The part of Derry he led me to that day
Was anything but wealthy, I hasten to say;
He wasn't sure which door he should knock
But after three tries he received a shock
The colleen's mother said she wasn't there!
Our matelot was shaken, his face went bare.

The dear mother seeing his shocked appearance
Immediately told him down the road to glance;
Among the other children, both girls and boys,
There was his colleen full of fun and joys;
The little former cripple was romping around
And Rod MacAulay went happily dockside bound.

Rod then explained the concerns he had
When last he saw her she was crippled bad
She was unable to navigate, to walk at all
Now seeing her running around having a ball
Made his day (and mine I truly must say)
Proving Canadian sailors weren't all bad, EH!

Rod MacAulay became a minister after the war
Aiding and helping Metis in Winnipeg by the score;
When he told me his future, his hopeful vocation
We never dreamt so close would be his congregation,
In Slackers town, in a large United Church site,
I'm sure he's put many on the path that's right.

January 24, 1989.



We had a huff-duffer on our ship,
It was obvious he was different
No one liked to mention or give lip
To the difference of this gent.

Let me explain my early upbringing
I was born and raised in Toronto
W-A-S-P praises we were always singing
Never recognize other, or want to.

Into my sheltered life aboard the Nene
I met this huff-duffer, a wireless man
He was something I had seldom seen,
Different, I'll describe him if I can.

Understand my background, my era (my loss)
Being raised in Anglo-Saxon dominated town
There were many my path would never cross
This huff-duffer was one I never looked on.

How can I be tactful, diplomatic, discreet?
No one told me in the Navy I'd be serving
With people different than I had joy to meet
Others, who, now I believe, just as deserving.

This huff-duffer (I could barely believe my eyes)
Obviously one who came from different classes
Bob Rotenberg came from a different bunch of guys'll not believe me but he wore glasses!

January 24, 1989.



The European war was over a month before
When we received the long-awaited order
"Proceed to Sheerness for decommissioning"
View Ireland for last time; no small thing.
HMC Ships Port Colborne, Loch Alvie, Monnow,
To various destinations, each ship to go;
Tired and worn, as we, this brought to a close
A part of history which included all those.

Canadian Naval Expeditionary Forces, proud,
Were ending the history of a great crowd
Escort Group Nine of the Home Fleet's team
Would be leaving that area under full steam.
AB George Newton recalled leaving Jetty Nine
Full-length of our ship flew a pennant fine
That decommissioning pennant meant end-of-line
But our brave proud Ensign flew o'er the brine.

That White Ensign was a little ragged 'twas true
And still looking proud as were we boys in blue,
Remember the captain's order to Engineer Booth:
"Let's see what she's got, let's find the truth!"
HMCS Nene went through the water real quick
Mr. Booth's engine room didn't miss a trick
Our stokers proved we had a real faast ship
The Nene never before had gone at such a clip!

Anchored off Sheerness, we heard the death knell
"Finished with engines" (with Naval life as well)
That was the end of our good ship, the Nene,
Probably there were tears though none were seen.
Now hear this, now hear this, my hearty mate,
Work party muster on the quarterdeck, oh fate,
Engine room cleaning party? Unloading stores?
Some jobs couldn't be called pleasant chores.

Remember those large cans of Cottage Brand Jam?
Bet you can't recall beef steaks or a large ham;
Now decommissioning was the chore, it had to be,
But some of this work, "Why'd Buffer pick on me?"
The way we cleaned ship was ironic it's true,
We had to make the Nene better than when new;
Like drain the bilges and paint every last inch.
Scrape and paint the mast, decks and every winch.

Bos'n chairs were hanging practically everywhere
Some seamen were painting without aid of a chair;
The sooner we could get the ship in mothballs
The sooner we could again enjoy Canadian dance halls.
Even for the yardarms no one yelled "avast"
(Wonder if Buffer checked the top of the mast?)
I, a sig, know the top was cleaned and painted
Though seamen seeing ME working near fainted.

So many of us wondering why it had to be so clean;
When we got her from "them" the Nene had no sheen;
Our ship would no longer be "ours" it is true,
But those who sailed her would ever be "our crew".
A sig appeared with the Decommissioning Pennant
Offering each a foot, a souvenir, refuse you can't;
George Newton declined, and asked about the flag,
Was it available, could it end up in his kitbag?

George was informed he'd have to apply for that,
Ask the signal officer, but keep it under his hat
That officer said "No way" but told George he might
Lower it at dusk, taking it under cover of night.
George was unable to accomplish this crafty feat
As a last liberty boat pulled away, admitted defeat,
When he witnessed an unnamed signalman handing it
(Admitting he shouldn't) to Leading Seaman Newitt.

Years have a way of passing, the past grows dim
After thirty-four years George's daughter said to him
Her husband, Roy, had a friend whose father he knew
But, try as George might, she refused to tell him who.
The only thing Roy said about the mysterious man
Was this man's son was also a Toronto policeman
So, on the next visit to Ajax, George was driven
To meet this friend, his mind was near riven.

Who could Roy and the daughter know from his past
He wondered if his patience would be able to last
When, at the door sho should appear but Ross Newitt
Who, after much salty talk--came across with IT!
As George Newton left Ross's home that frosty night
Ross, knowing how much it meant, gave him the right
To display that much-desired White Ensign in his home!
We of the Nene know that's not the end of this poem.

AB George Newton, alas, had passed away much before
We had our reunion at Belleville, on Ontario's shore;
George's daughter gave it back to Ross Newitt, who,
Donated it to our reunion but this tale's not through.
Now, a possession such as this White Ensign prize,
Isn't lightly given up; unselfish Ross didn't surprise,
His generosity will be forever remembered, so pure;
Some of us are keepers, others finer types for sure.

As we Nene crew who were at the reunion are aware
In Belleville that famous White Ensign was there;
"We" returned it to Canada for all of posterity;
All can view it in Public Archives -- for eternity!

January 25, 1989.




My memory is getting dim, but I recall,
At an early "Action Stations" were we
Depth charges were dropped, then a loll,
Then the surface was strewn with debris!

Please send this signal with all due haste:
"Blood and wreckage on the surface!"
Satisfaction ours, we've no time to waste;
Believe me, the vast ocean was a mess.

Next we know, an almost maniacal Number One
Was tearing around screaming with a yell:
"Put out those fags, no lighted matches, anyone!
"That blood is high octane, we'll blow to hell!"

'Twas said about our Exec, Lieutenant Taylor,
After running so fast, hither and yon,
That day took the wind out of that sailor,
And he didn't do a thing from that day on!

January 26, 1989.



FREDDIE LEVESQUE, after receiving copies of the doggerel so far,

For those who scrambled those steel decks of the Nene,
To our stations, lived those memories, we who have seen;
You brought back to our minds memories so vividly, eh?
(Memories you helped bring us by your poetry's way).

And Freddie also confessed . . . (Sam's version of the "confession"):

Freddie and the boys wish to set the escapade record straight;
(Our friendly leading seaman confessing, albeit forty years late);
The trip ashore to LeHavre, was by sails in Nene's whaler;
And the boys with Freddie all assured him they could sail 'er.
So to LeHavre beach they sailed; for souvenirs did look
(Though all of them knew The Jimmy their goose would cook).
Freddie and the boys knew the orders were NOT to go on shore,
But all agreed, why should life be ruddy dull, a bloody bore?
If we did everything our Jimmy The One wanted us to do?
Hey, is that a used shell, is that a gun, is that a shoe?
The return trip, alas, just wasn't quite nearly so much fun . . .
Freddie and the boys had no wind for sailing, only French "sun".

Rowing a ship's whaler is real tough, rough work, I say, by gar!
And, on returning ... "One" laced into Freddie (the boys went afar);
Freddie's excuse was that he only wanted to dry the whaler sails;
That's why they rowed (would be faster to use today's mails).
"Jimmy The One" never believed our Freddie (who became the goat)
But our leadhand's duties remained--in charge of whaler 'n motorboat!
February, 1989.




Was it cold? You'd never believe the cold!
And this "Nene" tale just has to be told:
When Johnno left the wheel "to go to the head"
And brought back coffee and neaters instead!

The "Nene" was on a Northern Scotland "run"
It was colder than...well...a son of a gun!
Johnno and Jamie were on the hated middle watch,
Twelve to four aye-em, one not wise to botch!

Jamie said: Johnno how about a pot of coffee?
Make the brew just right, strong as it can be!
From my locker fetch my rum, there's half-a-jug,
We'll spike it with neaters, then "jug-a-lug".

Jamie filled their cups with neaters coffee,
Put the jug on the pressure cylinder, did he,
OH! OH! Someone's coming: Clump, clump, clump!
THE SKIPPER! the boys were about ready to jump!

Wearing sheepskin, parka, heavy duffle coat,
Binoculars hanging, seaboots big as any boat,
Looked like one of the Seven Dwarfs, I tell you,
Johnno and Jamie figured they were through!

The usual small talk, discussing the awful cold,
Background for this tale I'm about to unfold.
THEN! A feared, dreaded question came through:
"Quartermaster, may I have a cup of your brew?"

While Johnno filled the Skipper's "coffee" cup,
Jamie saw fourteen days Number Eleven comin' up,
They were caught! That means loss of leave . . .
Jonno and Jamie would have lots of time to grieve!

The Skipper enjoyed it, savoured every sip,
"The galley serves good coffee on this ship,"
That's all the Skipper said--I repeat every bit--
"But Jamie, you put too much rum in it!"

Not many skippers in peacetime or in battle,
Would hesitate to run both in the rattle!
It wasn't Captain Shaw's nature to complain,
As the rest of his watch he felt no cold or pain!

February, 1989.



Stories of Nene's Seamen's Mess
Are many, some may even be true,
Some we have heard many time
Some were clean, some "blue";
Our ABs were a close-knit team,
A co-ordinated efficient crew,
So we in Communications thought,
We're sure you would too.

Do you remember our "Chippie"
When he repaired their mess
After U995 tried sailing through
As a shortcut to Loch Ness?
A couple of our ABs were injured
All were concerned, you know,
Left a "hole in the wall"
Really, it was an ugly show.

Who were those heroes that day
In May, Nineteen Forty-five?
We worried about our Seamen
Were they dead or alive;
Think about it, my shipmates,
During time we were aboard
Wasn't that Chip's only chore
When that bulkhead he shored?

April, 1989.



It's difficult nowadays to perceive
Elation that was ours to receive
Permission to bathe, we're in luck,
To have a bath named after a duck!

Visualize having to beg permission,
To bathe oneself from a small basin,
Unclothing as briefly as you could,
To avoid freezing, certain you would.

That bath was infamous in cold times
But in Bermuda in much warmer climes
Daily bathing was fun for our guys
We swam willingly, no wheres or whys.

"Eric" ordered bathing at five-thirty
Everyone was included, clean or dirty,
The early watch at that time of morn
Enforce it, or regret they'd been born.

Our early morning boys were enthused,
We understand our Jimmy wasn't amused;
Our crew cared little about the rest
Make sure our "One" was wet and blessed.

Off the bow Number One's mattress went
With Jimmy in it, to King Neptune-sent,
Our early watch dove the same direction
Melding with swimmers to avoid detection.
During Bermuda's playful bathing time
Flying Freddie, on a bet of a dime,
Dove off the yardarm, about ninety foot,
Our Killick Levesque was a nutty coot!
Bermuda was the time we were forbidden
To bring rum aboard even if well hidden;
Officers unloading at the bow their rum,
Seamen came around the stern with some!

How could the officers enforce the rule
How could they tell tales out of school?
We had our rum keg, they theirs, my son,
So, naturally, nothing was said nor done.

April, 1989.



While on shore leave with neaters
Was undoing of many of Nene's crew
With a bottle we were world beaters
But, returning, escapades sometimes rue.

From Derry's HMS Ferret (I've been told)
Their piano was pushed down the Strand
A matelot striving to play tunes of old,
One "oiling" keys with a Guinness brand.

Can't recall the piano's fate in Derry
Sure as sure Pussers was the problem
Claim is, taken straight, like a sherry,
Trouble always followed for all of them.
An example to mind of this kind of mess
Was in a NAAFI near Russell Square,
A commando was bragging of his prowess
Of ability to hold rum "Over There".

"Over There" was front lines of war
Where "Army rum'd send a tar to town"
"Navy gets Pony P" said he in tones dour;
Pour eight ounces for him to down.

Showing off, this pongo (in fighting trim)
Conditioned as a boxer with a crown,
Head back, that was last heard from him,
Hit the floor, OUT, all the way down!
At Buckingham Palace, leaning on a pole,
Watching changing of guard, on a roll,
Told "square up", Pusser was in control
(Some fighters, the Juicer Shore Patrol)!

April, 1989.



Two from our Communications Mess
Snafu-ed many times, must confess,
Alf Nyman, we called "Honest Al"
(Self-styled: "The Sailors' Pal");
Deacon Clark, everyone all know,
Looked innocent as the driven snow.

This pair got into many the scrape
Yet, from most, managed to escape;
Like toting a mirror aboard ship
After giving a publican the slip;
We tiddlied using that reflector
'Til "Jimmy" rid us our defector.

One escapade had them worried
As for a month they scurried
Around formulating an excuse,
How a pub seat happened loose...
They were caught, it did appear,
Toting a "pew" bench to our pier.

Talked their way out in court later
Said they bought it from a waiter
Sorry, but that guy took the rap
But Deacon and Pal helped the chap
Financed "leave" from that pub...
Meanwhile, they used a men's club.

You've heard how they got loose
In Newfy with some "Ditto" juice?
"Hair of dog", advice most sound
But from "Ditto" you don't rebound;
They got more stinko, blind drunk,
Caring not if we sailed or sunk.

They poured for stokers on a visit
Whose stomachs couldn't hold it...
"Pal", eating a sandwich, the clown,
In the asdic hole, fell upside down,
So blind on "Ditto" fluid was he
Kept chewing 'til we got him free!




Never took French, nor meaning of "deja vu"
Never cared what it meant, I confess to you;
At school my son learned to "parlez vous",
Explained "deja vu" (aware I already knew).

Had "deja vu" experience in Forty-Three or so
Ship tied up in Scotland and ashore we did go,
Forged into blackout (for a wee drink or so),
My genes been here before?? I just don't know.

Blackouts made streets extra dark in the city
We only wanted beer or chips, more's the pity;
Mates had trouble finding chips and the pubs,
Would settle for beer in the workers' clubs.

Except me ... it was possible for me to tell
Where to find places, other things as well;
Got to be the boys asked me to be their guide,
Lead them to their needs, there time to bide.

Worked in England, my grandfather's homeland,
And Ireland, where my father had been banned;
What of Scotia, land which I felt my core--
Whence my mother came "frae" forty year before.

Leith was where we docked on the east coast,
Just isn't me to be braggart, nor to boast,
But couldn't wait to show my "deja vu" here
Egotistically, lead shipmates to their beer.

Mind was clear, clean, and certainly pure,
After many days at sea, beer should cure;
"Around next corner" saying what was what;
Unaware their minds somewhere mine was not.

Got as they wished, which wasn't for a brother
Away they strolled, but not with one another;
I heard a sultry voice, accent broad, whisper:
"Laddie, let me treat ye, but not as a sister?"

Even in blackout, no difficulty to discern,
Proposition from one with many years astern;
At least twice my age! I took off mortified,
To a nearby cafe, my blushing face to hide.




Jimmy The One gave orders to Nene's crew
No pets allowed, no cats or dogs for you;
He disobeyed his own orders we're told
But his little pet never grew to be old.

Dewey Barwis brought a small pup aboard
That puppy was loved, closer to adored;
Most will recall our trip to the White Sea
When Dewey sold it to a Russ! So help me!

But with those Rusky bills he received
He couldn't buy Chips' love; we grieved;
The Murmansk tugboat skipper was elated
Dewey lost our respect, became near hated!

As we pulled away from that dreary pier
The tugboat skipper seemed to give a leer;
Barwis whistled and Chips came a-running
Leaping aboard Nene; wasn't Dewey cunning?

During Action Stations--I see it yet--
The four-incher firing--we lost our pet!
Tearing around, scared as heck was he ...
Miss our Chips, but he remains in memory.

(Research indicates "Chips" was name for
C.P.O. Arthur Desjardine, our shipwright.)




Awaiting draft at "Slackers" were we,
When it was posted for all to see:
Two draft lists side by side on view,
Look for your name, which your crew?

One listed HMCS Shawinigan draftees,
The other ours, and where our quays,
The Shawinigan boys laughed at us
Who drew the Nene, a dirty sea bus.

Took a ribbing that day in Halifax,
About our ship, but these were facts:
We had drawn a wartorn unkempt Nene,
While they got one spotlessly clean.

Quite a razzing from Shawinigan mates
Some lucky, but who can foretell fates,
While packing their gear and kidding us
. . . we packed with a disgusted cuss.

Shawinigan joined W-2 Group after WUPs,
Nene assigned EG-C5, crying in our cups,
U1228 decided Shawinigan's tragic fate,
"Fishing" her in the nearby Cabot Strait.

Knowing those boys who joked with us all,
Each November Twenty-fifth we recall
How close it was, the fate of one draft,
We remember . . . whene'er we look abaft.

Lost with all hands while on independent A/s patrol out of Sydney, N.S. - 25/11/44



Nova Scotia Bank, to help a teller,
Transferred her East, near her feller,
With nary a corporate quiver or qualm,
Transfer was made, she was with Tom!

This young Toronto lass, a blushing bride,
Went to Slackers area, near Tom's side,
Our young wife of a stoker, a Nene member,
Had a Ship's Family Day visit to remember.

From the same Toronto N.S. bank branch
Another, Navy-bound, had left the ranch;
Betty Whitefield was surprised as heck
When greeted aboard on Nene's quarterdeck.

As she went on board, to view our "rooms";
Officer of the Day was banker Paul Coombs!

June 23, 1989
as told to Sam the Sig
at our Third Reunion
Ottawa, Ontario.



How some things happen, how they occur,
Could make any ordered mind go blur.
Our memory refreshed (about Scapa Flow)
But when this happened, we were below.

Booth, our engineer, was one to stroll,
About the decks, to sit and even loll;
Tells us a short tale, when alongside
Another ship, probably at high tide/

Along came a provision ship (we're told)
Tied up portside, and began to unload,
Using a crane to reach our sister ship,
When a large carton began to slip.

Down on Nene's starboard it did shower,
From what we termed a heavenly tower,
Never before did the Nene crew of tars
Move as quickly (grabbing chocolate bars!)

June 23, 1989
Ottawa (Third) Reunion.



Engine room officer was Bruce Booth,
Compared to us, he was long in tooth;
While at Action Stations in the Arctic
Had to be two places at once, real hectic!

So Bruce decided to take a seat to view
The action above, but ever ready to do
Anything below, or if the bridge did call
He'd be available there or with stokers all.

Bruce's seat choice wasn't good it seems
He chose to sit near a pipe that "steams";
He moved quickly, another place to retire,
Right beside some very high-tension wire!

Now, this was an officer, well educated,
With worldly experience highly rated;
For his next location, he was seen
Sitting on an explosive ammo magazine!

Bruce, realizing it was the crucial stage
Decided he would act a trifle more sage,
At least this is what we were told . . .
He retired to safety in the stokehold!




A.B. Don McGee was a strapping chap,
A Quebec boy who would take no crap;
Told Juicers their equipment was defective
In language plan with many an expletive.

Seems their Oerlikon mags would only take
Forty-pound pressure ("for goodness sake")
They wanted him arrested, put in their brig,
But Captain said No, we need a man that big!

The Juicer Shore Patrol wanted an arrest,
But Don stayed aboard with all the rest;
Really, if we had lost Big Don McGee . . .
Who would've kicked the depth charge free?

Oh, we didn't mention that charge, loose?
Well, Don kicked it over, saved our goose;
Heroes are made, heroes are born, they say,
We were all grateful to Big Don that day.




"I'm not a good speaker," said Fern
(Speechifying wasn't our concern);
Poirier stood up - entranced us all
Speaking in English in Radisson Hall.

To see a man on his feet, like he,
Emotions and feelings flowing free;
Speaking from his heart we sure knew;
Sorry when he said he was through.

Our Nene Family was quite aware
Of labours done by our "chair";
But, true to his committee was he;
With praise and thanks quite free.

We knew of the work by those others
Ex-sailors, and wives, and mothers;
But someone had to lead the way:
A great chairman - FERN POIRIER!




We forget what the signal read
Slow down, or full speed ahead;
Howie and Sam were on that deck
Sweating, though frosty as heck.

How can we please our new Yeo?
Wish he'd leave us, go below!
We obeyed his order, real posh;
But didn't please him, by gosh!

"CLOSE UP" we heard him yell
We hauled that rope as a bell,
As "Bunny" was in a bad mood
We hoisted high as we could.

"CLOSE UP" he screamed again,
(Wish he'd get outta the rain);
Both pulling on that flag signal
"CLOSE UP" again came that yell!

Furious, he clumped down the ladder,
In a rage -- nobody could be madder!
He came in his yellow "zoot suit"
(Howie and Sam stood there moot).

"When I say 'CLOSE UP' I mean it!"
(We thought he was having a fit)
He grabbed the halyard, on it hung,
To hoist it "up" but out he swung!

Like a giant pendulum he did swing
Near losing OUR flags, everything?
Over the side and back, hanging on
(Even got a laugh from staid Ron).

Henceforth, in all kinds of weather
We did any hoisting, or whatever,
A tradition was formed, all agree,
"Yeo" would never again hoist at sea!


(Memory assistance from Sig. Howard R. Elliott who served exactly
the same number of minutes aboard H.M.C.S. Nene, K270, as the Poetaster)



(Basic Training at H.M.C.S. Montcalm)


Arrival in Quebec City was traumatic,
Go here, go there, the pace frantic;
We quickly learned we had to scurry;
No matter what the order, just hurry!

Our unfamiliar uniforms were such
Dressing in a rush was just too much;
It wasn't easy tying one's collar,
And dickie fronts evoked a holler.

To button pants "across the front"
Elicited many a groan and grunt;
In the space which we were blessed
Pulling on a jacket was no mean test.

New-issue caps were hard and stiff
They caused many a scuffle and tiff;
Howie Elliott was patient and calm,
But I could light his fuse at Montcalm!

When all were dressed, right tiddely.
I had a mean trick I'd pull on Howie;
Out of the blue I would snap and slap
Down on his nose that very hard cap!

Scraping forehead and bridge of nose,
Why he didn't get madder god only knows!
Lucky am I that Howie's fuse was long,
Else I wouldn't be alive for this song.



(Basic Training at H.M.C.S. Montcalm)


Souther Ontario, in our life ashore,
Seldom heard "foreign" words before;
Arriving in Quebec City, at Montcalm,
Wished we'd studied our French exam.

Kitbags needed locks for security
So into town went Howie, Bob 'n me;
Bob had taken French at high school,
(I was an uneducated illiterate fool.)

Into Quebec, the city, we did proceed,
Bob would be the spokesman we agreed;
Into "quincaillerie magasin" we went
Bob said to relax during this event.

Why he chose that store was a mystery
Where the sign said "magazines" to me
But the kind old "homme" greeted him,
Then Bob's "French" speaking did begin.

Bob said something about a "flock-on"
"Hommey" thought he was putting him on,
Arms waving as Bob yelled "meech-ay"
Goodness knows what he was trying to say.

"Ferm-ay ah clef" Bob yelled out loud,
The store owner was obviously in a cloud;
Howie asked, in tones of exasperation:
"What's the word for lock, a combination?"

The kind gentleman's face fairly beamed
He smirked, smiling extra wide, it seemed,
Ignoring Bob, speaking directly to Howie:
"How many locks do you require? - Three?"


(Take Time To Smell The Roses)

Four decades and four years ago
We arrived home from the "Big Show"
Hoping that others would benefit
As we doffed uniforms and kit.

Thousands had wounds and scars,
Many had bravery medals with bars,
For most, lessons had been learned;
Unfortunately, some never returned.

Praying fellow Canadians would see
We served so youths could be free
Not "born killers" as some say;
Just young, like youth of today.

Grieves us but we've heard from some
Of today's young, no good will come;
AThey" spout words we find uncouth,
"Cliches" unfair to Canadian youth.

From a discourse the other night
We're convinced kids are alright;
Our faith is justified in every way
None should defile the youth today!

The lads agreed what should be done:
Take time to thank a special someone;
Such as one who taught them "be proud",
To live their lives with heads unbowed.

Should recognize the value of anyone
Who showed the worth of jobs well done,
Or one who taught them self-respect,
Taking time to explain what to expect.

To thank "vets" this Remembrance Day,
Take time to thank a benefactor today,
Express thanks to a special someone
. . . even if ONLY your Dad or Mom!

Remembrance Day, 1989.



The manner we observed Remembrance Day
Has changed somewhat, I hasten to say
When, from school, over sixty years ago
Marching proudly to the cemetery we'd go.

Not in step, young ones not keeping pace,
Imitating the old vets, sorrowful in face,
Teachers ever ready to give us what-for
(Overlooking most had dads in that war).

We marched by classes through the gate
To where a lone bugler stood in wait
When all were ready and in their place
Local ministers would pray for grace.

The ceremony was dignified in every way
Teachers' orders for silence we had to obey
Life was great, the Great War in the past,
Curious how long each speech would last.

Little realizing that our generation
Would also march to war for our nation
The boys in our parade, that grade class,
Served, not one the opportunity did pass.

What a change! The students of this day
Commemorate "Remembrance" a different way
Honour the past but look to the morrow
Life goes on through joy and sorrow!

Remembrance Day, 1992.


H.M.C.S. REGINA - K-234

Commissioned January Forty-two
A great ship, through and through,
Operation Torch action we remember,
(North African landings in November.

Assigned Western Approaches command
For invasion duties she was at hand,
Served, conducted herself with dignity
Then on to Channel and Coastal duty.

Then on August Eighth in Forty-four
Met U667, and Regina was no more,
Off Cornwall near Trevose Head;
Some saved but thirty were dead!

Nene connection with that brave crew?
Seems when Regina refitted in Pictou,
Bruce Newitt met another Windsorite...
His shore job "oiling" had him up tight.

Aboard Regina Bruce tried to volunteer
But "Slackers" needed him "right here";
Off Cornwall Newitt had strange pains
As we sailed above K234's remains.

Near Bristol he tingled in every nerve
Knowing on her he had wanted to serve;
Bruce said: "But for God, so help me,
"I'd be forever resting at sea!"

January 1990.
(46 years later).


("Balleymena Scots", All Six)

When roll was called there were six
Who were always up to devilish tricks;
Ron Graham, Bob Watson, Joe Gagliardi,
Bob Rotenberg, Sam Forsythe, Stan Zatylny.

Seven days to rest in Northern Ireland
To loll at camp or on the beach sand;
Rest camp what it was called for some
But Nene ratings were there for fun!

The ratings entered many a Belfast pub
Sampling the various beers by the tub;
Gawked and viewed many bombed-out spots
Then back to the bars for more shots.

Coleraine had a railroad station
Where we boarded for the daily ration
Don't recall how much we had to pay
But we slept clear through next day!

At Portrush and Portstewart we'd eye
Sandy beaches and cliffs huge and high;
Getting rid of some excess energy...
But this tale is about Joe Gagliardi!

We were hungry and needed a meal
Went to a cafe at four p.m. - unreal -
Hungry enough to eat a horse were we;
But found they were only serving tea!

When down the street we did prance
Met a friend of Joe's by chance;
Told him of our appetites and need;
That A.B. said he was about to feed.

Not sure if he invited us or what
But to his colleen's we did trot;
Mother welcomed us, shocked at the sight,
But hadn't sufficient food that night.

The countryside at Balleymena was fertile
Farms, acreages, with many the pig stile;
Joe never at a loss, gave a howl,
Would she cook, if we supplied the fowl?

Rest Camp - 2 -

What his thoughts we soon got the news;
From whence we came, near some mews,
On a small farm close to this place
Were chickens our table could grace.

In no time we six were chasing birds
Past pig stiles, around cows in herds,
When we stopped chasing we were a sight
"Wearing" enough feathers to take flight!

Gagliardi, our expert, wrung their necks
The rest of us were covered with pecks;
He cleaned and washed them in a stream
The sight of us must have been a scream!

Six gobs after their battle of Waterloo
Had captured their chickens, namely two!
"Mother" outwardly showed little surprise
Stating in two hours we'd eat our prize.

That Irish lady knew, we're certain,
That those chicks were illegal gain,
Yet cooked a meal we still remember
The year Forty-four, the month November.

The memory of that day is bittersweet,
As at our reunions we all cannot meet...
Seaman Joe Gagliardi is no longer alive
Having left this world in Sixty-five.


January 1990.



After forty-five years, memory grows dim,
'Twas in Ireland's Portrush, I think,
Witnessed Irish joy flowing over the brim,
When many arms were seen to link.

Just ambling around were we "Nene" boys,
Past barns and the occasional byre,
When we were invited to join in the joys
At the lighting of a huge bonfire.

Invited yes, and to accept we were fain
(Was it Portrush or Portstewart?)
Celebration of lights coming on again;
We readily agreed, no feelings to hurt.

No reluctance, as the invitations came down
From Irish colleens, all quite cute,
And, when, on a headland above the town,
The bonfire was it, it was a beaut!

One colleen was heard above the huge din,
When she commenced singing a refrain,
Every voice in the crowd soon joined in:
". . . When the lights come on again."

It is difficult to define the sentiment,
And, as we were saying our good-byes,
One of "Nene's tough guys" we heard comment:
"They're not tears, smoke's in my eyes!"

March 2, 1990.



Nene Balleymena Scots numbered six
Forever up to all kinds of tricks;
A diversified bunch of Navy tars,
Canadian-born, under different stars.

Won't bore you too much, we pray,
Enjoyed the famous Giant's Causeway,
Portrush, Portstewart, were fine,
Matter of fact, we had a great time!

The Nene's rest camp group were fun,
Each being a different "son of a gun";
The "guns" in our cases were varied,
Varied in background, and in creed.

First we'd list, was our old guy Bob,
Watson's likely sire: an English job;
Surname such as Graham, Ron had to be
Descendant of Auld Scotia, a "Kilty"!

Where could one by name of Gagliardi
Be from, but somewhere in sunny Italy?
My "faither was barn" in Erin's south,
Probably where I got my "Blarney" mouth!

Stan Zatylny was known to one and all
His heritage was Polish (he was a ball)!
Polish, Juicer, Scot, Irishman, Italian,
But Rotenberg confused us all to a man.

He was one we weren't easily placing;
Clan Rotenberg, was difficult tracing,
As back, forth, to each country we went
He frequently changed, as a twig is bent!

Forget what his name was while in Newfy,
You can bet it was appropriately goofy!
PADDY O'ROTENBERG landed on Irish shore
Tell you our "Patrick" was never a bore!

When we hit an English port that one
Became a Juicer named ROTENBERGSON!
Hearing him introduced in Auld Scotia
As RABBIE MacROTENBERG was a "ha-ha".
Balleymena Scots - 2 -

How he communicated in Arctic Murmanski,
With all those people who spoke Russki,
We'll never know, but were enabled to see
COMRADE ROTENBOV getting along, famously.

Don't wish to bore with historical facts,
But not mentioning Holocaust would be lax;
Though Bob never on the subject did dwell,
We witnessed Jerries he scared to hell!

He spoke his family name--to be heard--
After boarding a sub which surrendered;
Speaking in German, enunciating out loud,
Of the heritage of which he was proud!

We witnessed pallor that instantly grew
On frightened faces of that sub's crew;
Bob's sense of humour we already knew--
They didn't--and white was their hue!

March 1990.




Ron Graham spread a forgotten tale
When he proceeded to amuse and regale
Several of our crew with a story wild
About my mother's dear sailor child.

Secret signals to be destroyed at sea
Somehow had been entrusted to me . . .
Down in the stokers' part of the ship
My duty to burn papers--without a slip.

Now, of course, the stokers all knew
It was my life if I lost one or a few
So, I'd make a show of burning all
Not seeing one I dropped "in the hall".

One seemed to "get away" from my care
Every so often when I went down there
I wouldn't be back to report to my Yeo
Ere all knew where we were next to go!

The fake paper had a message distinct
So stokers would unquestionably think
That it was a bona fide communication
Not to be dispersed all over creation.

Arriving up top I'd be given advice
We'd be sailing through Arctic ice,
Or we were going home for a refit,
Lots of the crew near having a fit.

The fake secret message would precede
My return up top, no matter my speed
Ron knew, never the powers that be,
That buzz was directly because of me!

Ron, of course, was innocent and pure
His character flawless, quite demure,
It seems odd but two knew of that fun
How come Ron was the only other one?

I have heard it said, continually,
One makes the snowballs--do we agree?
Yet another throws them--so I'm told;
Ron's hands must be cold--very cold!
July, 1993



One remembers events of the past
At short reunions that never last
Talking in Halifax with Ceo Gaudet
We recalled some we'll never forget.

When we were short on water supply
We would rely on that little guy
He'd sneak us cans of peaches sweet
We'd drink the juice and also eat.

Going ashore we would keep quite mum
About a twenty-sixer of pusser rum;
We'd gladly share our leave with Ceo
No matter where we went or had to go.

On twentieth of December Forty-four
Twenty in years, feeling many more;
Zatylny's birthday as well as mine
Ceo made sure it was a rummy time.

Stan Zatylny insisted we celebrate
Going ashore would be far too late
The tale continues, needless to say,
Ceo helped us have a wonderful day!

July, 1993.



Chick Fogg, of British Columbia stock
Took a walk with me down to the dock
The mission was of vital importance
See The Sailor when we had this chance.

This signalman and the seaman rating
Made an unusual pair to be dating
Both wanted to see the famous statue
(All who had seen it advised us to).

Enjoyed our walk, inspected it close
Risking chance to be termed verbose:
Stirred by this memorable experience
Quietly returned to the Chateau hence.

Both of us expressed our appreciation
To those responsible for its creation
It was so authentic but a trifle tall
Compared to Chick and I who are small.

Two donated gifts to Nene were special
Of particular interest, desired by all,
One, a stone carving, by one of our crew,
The other, The Sailor, won by guess who.

Bill Cameron's bear I missed as a prize
But The Sailor was a nice "surprise";
All were glad, each and everyone there
As Jackie Levesque won Bill's stone bear.

It was a popular win when Jackie won
No one thought otherwise, not a one,
We know Jackie will treasure her bear
Wish in Belleville it can become a pair.

Halifax, N.S.
July, 1993.




Times were tense, the situation serious
This wasn't a leisure trip by cab or bus
Commander Skinner, captain of the Monnow,
Led EG9, the rest required to follow.

Monnow to take the van, protect up ahead
EG9 was to follow wherever Skinner led
Monnow signalled, "We're in position"
Night became day, hearts ceased motion!

Starshells lit Monnow as if it were day
The Juicers were out to earn their pay
Seems our leader had taken up his chore
Escorting cruisers and the odd destroyer!

The merchant ships were away up ahead
Commander Skinner his group had led
Into the middle, but not far enough;
A Juicer ship lives prepared to snuff!

A fate including death Monnow missed
Her crew good-bye to life had kissed
Skinner was embarrassed, we now recall;
Nene's Ron Graham saw humour in it all.

Artistic was Ron, Nene's day signalman,
Running for his pencil he soon had drawn
A cartoon of a red-faced Monnow and Cap;
Giving our "leader" a humorous wrist slap.

Someone finding the cartoon in our mess
(A someone who was not willing to confess)
Put it on notice board of Nene's wardroom;
When Skinner boarded there was a "boom"!

Ron was summoned, the interrogation begun,
Commander Skinner was a tough son-of-a-gun
"Did you draw this?" his voice rang out;
Ron wished the Newfy commander didn't shout.
"Yes sir," then honest Ron had a long wait
Whilst Skinner determined poor Ron's fate,
"Do ya think this occasion a funny joke?"
Ron didn't answer soon enough for the bloke.

We all make errors my friend, my Nene sig,
To confess wrong, takes a man who's big,
To admit so, even in times of war and strife;
There's times to cry, times we smile at life.

Steward, fetch us two double tots of rum
We'll see what kind of man is this one
Sig. Graham, join me in a friendly drink;
Poor Ron didn't know just what to think.

Indicating a drink would knock him dead,
Couldn't he toast in clear water instead?
Ron who never imbibed, begged off drinking;
Skinner, aloud, said what he was thinking:

Signalman, drink with me your double tot
Or sure death will be your timely lot!
If you don't drink you'll still be dead!
(Ron doesn't recall how he made it to bed).

Not by a long shot is this end of the tale
Quite recently we found out greater detail;
When Monnow decommissioned, so we are told,
Skinner's prizes included artwork so bold!

So, home to Newfy, as a treasured keepsake,
E. G. Skinner, DSC, that drawing did take;
Our rugged, tough, hardened man of the sea
Had a sense of wit few privileged to see.

July, 1993.




To Darrell Jarrett and Tim Graham
Eternal thanks from Signalman Sam
But first, please hear this Sig out
You'll know why I was fit to shout.

Chick Fogg, of British Columbia stock
Took a walk with me down to the dock
The mission was of vital importance
See The Sailor when we had this chance.

This signalman and the seaman rating
Made an unusual pair to be dating
Both wanted to see the famous statue
All who had seen it had advised us to.

Enjoyed our walk, inspected it close
Risking chance to be termed verbose:
Stirred by this memorable experience
Quietly returned to the Chateau hence.

Both of us expressed our appreciation
To those responsible for its creation
It was so authentic but a trifle tall
Compared to Chick and I who are small.

Two donated gifts to Nene were special
Of particular interest, desired by all,
One, a bear carving by one of our crew
The other, The Sailor, donated by you.

Pleased that you have heard me out
Now you know why I was fit to shout.
To Darrell Jarrett and Tim Graham
Eternal thanks from Signalman Sam.

Halifax, N.S.
July, 1993.



Every reunion several stories abound
One in particular keeps coming around
Howie Elliott mentions it each time
So, finally, here it is in "rhyme".

When we boarded the Jerry submarine
We looked around that cramped scene
Looking for souvenirs we could score
There's a cap, who could want more?

Obviously an officer's, of high rank,
Almost as ornate as one worn by a Yank,
Tuck it in my blouse, now let's leave,
Up the conning tower our way did weave.

Howie below me, on the very next rung
We were stopped ere we had but begun
Someone put a foot on my ladder hand
We were stopped dead, you understand.

The pressure on my fingers did increase
I thought the pain would never cease
In English, but not as a friendly chat,
"Where you think you're taking my hat?"

Hitting my motionless feet with his head
Howie, in unfriendly tone of voice, said:
"Move, Sam! If we're caught, we're dead!"
Jerry said: "Put the cap back on my bed!"

Howie was pushing at my feet from below,
While my fingers were losing blood flow,
Trying to go back, Howie was disturbed,
Ascending, that commander was perturbed.

The end of the story, as far as I know,
No souvenirs were ours from down below,
No names, but that very same headgear
Ended up as a Nene officer's souvenir!

July, 1993



Nene reunion over, parting of ways
After enjoying a memorable three days
The MacAulays had invited us to stay
In their cottage Portuguese Cove way.

At Chebucto Head we're asked to stay
Wouldn't miss chance by saying nay
To view wild birds, even a bluejay,
Pine siskins, juncos, birds of prey.

Have you ever seen black Guillemot
The North Atlantic auk (I had not)
Or a raft of Eiderdown ducks (not me)
In V-formation inches above the sea?

We saw gold and purple finches there
And other small birds beyond compare
Several mourning doves in the narrows
And, of course, lovely song sparrows.

Chebucto Head light over to our right
Where harbour pilots board and alight
Russian naval ships an imposing sight
Glad they weren't sailing off to fight.

Lucky for Rod and Ev to get that site
Portside of the famous Chebucto light
Rod must've prayed with all his might
To Someone Above at an Eternal Height.

The cove's weather was perfectly good
Keeping us in a restive, festive mood
At each meal Ev served delicious food
(Just out back was a well-treed wood).

Out front was the Atlantic Ocean view
Which shouldn't be reserved for the few
The only hardship was the outdoor loo
Hidden by trees from everyone's view.

The solitude, quiet, serenity of it,
At night accented, when moonlight lit
Whilst in daytime the sun did its bit
Pleased were we for a congenial visit.

Portuguese Cove sure is a beauty spot
We're indebted to MacAulays quite a lot
An Eden for Rev'n'Ev, believe it or not
Certainly a view which can't be bought.

Viewed lighthouse and village of Sambro
To Bald Rock and Sandy Cove did also go
At Chebucto Head we took a closer look;
Of Portuguese Cove I could write a book!
Visited the B & J Fisheries boat dock
Rod bought fresh halibut and haddock
For seventeen bucks of his pension pay
Got seven pounds of halibut that day.

Up in Central Canada we seldom get
Fish just out of the fisherman's net
Haddock we enjoyed for supper one night
The halibut steaks next--out of sight!

Viewed seals, porpoises, small fowl
Ships and freighters--large and small
Some things, identities only a guess
All on commands from Ev, the hostess.

Evelyn MacAulay has outstanding talent
Maybe more wishful than prayer-bent
She just entreats us to be patient
And what we want will soon be present!

Providing this panorama of many things
Of wildlife, all sorts of sea things,
Thanks to you Ev, thanks to you Rod,
But where oh where is the whale pod?

Ev orders everything into our view
But whales were unwilling, I tell you
We had to remain there to the third day
Ere Ev's orders those whales would obey.

Then on Wednesday the whales came about
Giving us displays of dive and spout
Two of them came very close to shore
Couldn't ask Evelyn for anything more!

We visited Peggy's Cove to view sails
After beholding those elusive whales
But can't visualize a nicer cove or bay
Than Portuguese, provided by MacAulay!

Thursday dawning, time for us to leave
But, this I know you will not believe;
Ev MacAulay had been unable to supply
A large white cruise ship for our eye!

Needless to say, Ev produced that morn
A passenger ship; sure as you were born!
A large, white cruise ship, lights aglow,
Ev has some talents we'll have you know!

H.M.C.S. Nene Reunion
Halifax, N.S.
July, 1993.



(Random thoughts)

We observed enthusiastic applause
Not enough praise for the cause

We overheard words of appreciation
Praise should go across the nation

We witnessed several handshakes
Praise should go for no mistakes

We noticed an occasional embrace
Praise should be face to face

We saw and gave many the kiss
A reunion one would hate to miss!



Happy were we who attended this year
Ecstatic in praise, but never fear,
All who are able, all those who can,
Will be at the next, to the last man.

Each year we have the same regret
For crewmen we haven't located yet
We say a prayer for each missing mate
Hoping to find them ere it's too late.

For those we know "where they be"
Unable to attend due to disability
Prayers go out they won't be ill
When we meet again in Belleville.

Not to forget friends no longer here
Shipmates whose memories we hold dear
Each of us knowing every passing year
More won't be able to answer "here".

We hoped to have a visit this year
One-on-one, eye-to-eye, ear-to-ear
Where did the hours go this time?
Now I'll try visiting in rhyme.

Had a moment here, a moment there,
But one or t'other was on a tear;
Hope we get another chance at that
Two years hence--we'll have a chat.

You requested that we visit this year
One-on-one, nose-to-nose, ear-to-ear
Ceo, where did the hours go this time?
Now I have to try visiting in rhyme.

Had a moment here, a moment there,
But one or t'other was on a tear;
Hope we get another chance at that
Two years hence--we'll have a chat.

Making the reunion near complete,
Was being able once again to greet
Dear old friends (in more than name)
Without whom it wouldn't be the same.

Teddy and John, you greeted us first
Asking if you could quench our thirst
Things got hectic as others did appear
Maybe next time we can have that beer.

Wonderful to see the Johnstons again
Wonderful to see Halifax without rain
Retirement looks good on Dave we see
Hope it has the same effect on Betty.

A thank-you especially to Rod and Ev
(That's Rod who said: "Call me Rev")
MacAulays' hospitality a highlight
Treating us to many a Maritime sight.

Hospitality according to a dictionary
Is kindness to guests, but contrary,
Rod and Evelyn went far beyond "duty"
Showing us Nova Scotia land's beauty.
At this reunion the Masons remained
At this reunion it never even rained
At Orillia we missed Audrey and Bill
When of illness Audrey had her fill.

Looking forward to two years hence
When once again we shed any pretence
Pleased to see the Masons as before
Hope to see you in Orillia once more.

Sobbing and tears we cannot tolerate
Eleanor, ever being compassionate,
Called the hotel desk to alert them
This Windsorite is a genuine gem.

Lawrence Souchereau donated a bag
A carry-on, which'll have my name-tag
Some of the draw prizes were just so-so
Thanks, I'll take this everywhere I go.




May 10, 1916 -- February 28, 1992

An obit notice in our local press
Couldn't commence to fully express
Jim O'Rourke's personality, vitality,
His character, influence, vivacity.

Jim unobtrusively lived a modest life
Sans controversy, friction, or strife,
Peaceful, calm, collected and serene,
Today, men like Jim are seldom seen.

Born of Irish parents in 'Sixteen
Graduated from Commerce while a teen
Worked at O'Keefe's before the war
Joined up, as his brothers before.

Leaving Anne, his athletic wife,
Jim went forth to the strife
Athletic-wise was he as a walker
But never to brag, not a talker.

J.H. won many races in his day
Not running, but walking his way,
Walking races are now of the past
But in his day Jim was very fast.

Recall a day on the 'Derry pier
Jim demonstrated (in third gear)
Walking briskly, hips a-twisting
Body leaning back; just a-listing.

Reminiscing about his modest show
Recalling dear Jim, who had no foe,
Ever we'll remember our gentle friend
As a devoted family man to the end.

"Please God, may he rest in peace"


July 23, 1922 - June 25, 1992

The obit notice stated that Bob
Served proudly aboard the Nene
We know he did a good W/T's job
A better worker few have seen.

It also said he had many a friend
Among those of the Nene's crew
To the very last, to the very end
He had Nene pals; this he knew.

Bob Watson left on this earth a legacy
For his many heirs and offspring
Remember him as a proud sailor at sea
Pleased to serve country and king.

Bob was delighted and proud of his family
A multitude of fond memories had he,
Often somewhat boasting of their ability
All in good taste, believe you me.

Recall once when our war had been "hot"
Someone decided we needed respite
So we were shipped to an Irish spot
Where we rested not one little bit.

It was on the north side of Ireland,
(In peacetime a place to holiday),
Where a restless youthful Nene band
Were on-the-go twenty hours a day.

We didn't do a thing we couldn't tell
Our youngest grandchild yet unborn
But we did enjoy raising a proper 'ell
Staying out at night till next morn.

It was a time when the world thought
The war was as good as nearly won,
We saw candy we wished could be bought
But required a rare ration coupon.

We were gazing at "allsorts" in a window,
Some other candies and gumballs
When a kind Irish lady offered to go
And buy sweets for the "Colonials".

We needed none, was difficult explaining,
We were merely admiring the display
She wanted to buy and left, complaining
Of candy we showered on her that day.

Yes, Bob had many friends on the Nene
A kind, considerate comrade indeed,
A man never known to be cruel or mean;
More men of Bob's ilk we truly need.



Sailor, Firefighter, Friend
May 1, 1922 - November 16, 1992

Freddie's Dad moved his "Francais" family
From Hull to Ottawa, our capital city,
Freddie, not a word of "Anglais" knew,
Soon had an English vocabulary too.

First noticed him as from above he soared
(A seaman of the "elite branch" aboard)
Diving from our yardarm ninety feet aloft
Into Bermuda's water, anything but soft.

Esteemed by seamen (and rest of our crew)
Respected for everything he tried to do,
Never gave an order to his gunnery crew
That he himself couldn't perform or do.

In 1989, at our National War Memorial
Nene crew assembled to remember it all;
"Frere d'armes" there depicted full size
He e'er admired the sailor as top prize.

He told us that since he was but a tad
His wish, to be a "matelot", a sailor lad;
Other services could take a back seat
When War II came, he joined the fleet.

Peace, as firefighter, he served us well
Answered many an alarm call, and bell,
Aiding thousands of Ottawa's denizens
He was one of Canada's great citizens.

The Nene crew are honoured to have known
One like he, and the example he's shown,
We'll ever remember our Freddie Levesque
Who now is serving on the "Celestial Deck".

"His Memory We Cherish"



No matter the place, conditions or clime
When our family gathers we have a great time;
No exception was our banquet in Kelowna, B.C.
The atmosphere wonderful as it could be,
Where fun mixed qith nostalgia the norm,
When we charged three drifters from our dorm.
Drysdale, Cameron and Taylor were put on charge
For missing three sailings of the Nene barge;
Ceremoniously brought before Munnings (Bob)
Who, as substitute captain did a creditable job,
The sentence given by our kangaroo court:
"Never again our reunions must they abort"
This was done in fun but with sincerity
To welcome them back in the Nene Family!

Sam Forsythe, Poetaster.
5 a.m., May 6th, 1991.



Our goal is Slackers for a reunion in Ninety-Three
(Though we know for some this cannot be)
But all our Nene Family will remember to the end
Those who make it, and those who do not attend.


Kelowna, B.C.
May 6th, 1991.



Noble, Young Adamson and Tye 'n Nye
Joined our Family like Ralph 'n Pye
The Nene Family travelled many miles
Reuniting in Kelowna, full of smiles.

To partake of the Reunion of Family
Ralph Patterson flew from N.S. to B.C.
Others motored miles 'cross country
To join those they served with at sea.

Canadian honours to Jean and Doug Pye
Who also flew most miles in the sky.
Oversea flew the newest of our Family
Seven blokes and wives (termed "Limey").

They were headed by a two-time attendee
President of the North Russia fraternity
Didn`t walk, arrived by way of the sky,
None other than our "brother", Chris Tye!

He brought Rosie and hubby George Nye
Catherine and Ron Young spry as spry!
And Noble, the Scot who donned his kilt,
Enjoying the feasting and fun to the hilt.

George Adamson arrived with his B.C. son
All of whom the Nene Family hearts won
Full Family members each gal and guy
Adamson, Noble, Youngs, Nyes and Tye!

Kelowna, B.C.
May, 1991.



Our memories of half a century ago
Back and forth in our minds flow
Those memories escalate as we mature
Inescapable, very personal in nature.

Who could ever forget the anguish
Of seeing a tanker "getting a fish"
Of hearing the crew's drowning cry
As she blazed away against the sky?

Helplessness to aid brave burning men
Has been plaguing us nightly since then
War afflicts people in different ways
But mental anguish persistently stays.

Remembrance Day, 1993.



Never will forget the cherished comradeship
Of mates who went "down with their ship"
Young men who were denied a prolonged life
Those taken from our side during the strife.

Then, seldom contemplating the possibility
Of a hand on our shoulder as a probability;
Only know we were among those who came home,
By God's will, given a full lifetime to roam.

Now, half a century later, we contemplate
Meeting them, and the odd deceased shipmate
Who has departed since the infamous campaign;
Greeting those chums, to sail together again.

We hope there will be few sojourners' tears
As the destined Hand on our shoulder appears
We'll renew amity, as to that Hand we accede;
Belay sorrowful concern, just say "Godspeed".

More Remembrance Day Thoughts, 1993.

LEST WE FORGET Aug. 15, 2004 - (VJ Day plus 59 years)

Brave sailors lie, in the oceans wide
In the seven seas, but not side by side
Not row by row, nor by marked graves
Only by white-capped cresting waves

No tombstones identify the Naval dead
Save those billowing waves, overhead.
With each wave tenderly we recall
Those matelots who gave their all;

With each wave we'll remember those,
Peacefully at rest, though not in rows.

Sam Forsythe
Signalman / Poetaster

National Remembrance Day Ceremony
Ottawa, Canada – November 11, 2006


The emotional part of Remembrance Day
Commenced before the service I must say
Lady half my age stopped to say thank you
Praise we feel was not our personal due
But ‘ere we arrived at Cenotaph square
Many others took time to thank us there
All ages, creeds, sexes thanked us profusely
We question why they thanked such as we
Prefer they remember our brothers-in-strife
Who didn’t "make it" home to live a full life.

A Legionnaire got us a front-row seat
Wrapped a Legion blanket around our feet
Covered head and body with a plastic sheet
Courtesies like those difficult to beat
‘O Canada’ was played and everyone sung
Last Post played and then sound of a gun
Two minute silence; tears flowed, no shame,
Couldn’t stop even when Revielle came
Twenty-one gun salute during Remembrance
Memories galore – tears abated? not a chance!

Thank You! Thank You!! Thank You!!!
Kept resounding through rain and dew,
"March Past" Veterans heard that cry
While passing the huge crowd standing by
We find walking not easy as of yore
Yet November 11 found strength galore
Thanks erupting from that grateful throng
Gave us an inner strength to "strut" along
Find it difficult to walk from here to there
Yet with cronies we can march anywhere.

"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."

Sam Forsythe, H.M.C.S. Nene poetaster
November 2006.


Webmaster: Dan Delong - Updated: December 12, 2002