Notes

Original poem by
C. Fox Smith

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MP3 Sample

The Day of Little Ships

Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Adapted and musically arranged by Charlie Ipcar 5/1/14

Tune: inspired by traditional On My Journey Home/Nonesuch

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"The Evacuation at Dunkirk," from THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, June 8, 1940, pp. 766-767. The small print under the headline says it was drawn by their 'special war artist', John A. Bryan de Grineau (1883-1957), 'from descriptions furnished by eye-witnesses.'

After the shades of war have fled,
And the final battle fought,
We will recall the Little Ships,
And the great things they have wrought;
We'll regale again, with smiles and tears,
The humble names they bore
The Little Ships that faced the flames,
Upon that farthest shore.

Chorus:
Sidewheel tug and sailing barge,
Eagle, Queen and Belle,
And the humble Marthas of the ports
That have no names to tell.

Then we'll recall their crews as well
Who sought not fee nor fame,
All they knew "There's a job to do,"
And they spat on their palms and came;
They dared the hell of the shell-swept dunes,
The hell of the bomb-torn tide;
They gave not a damn if they sank or swam,
Or if they lived or died. (CHO)

So home they came from that coast of death,
Each with her load of men,
Stayed but to set them safe ashore,
Then back to hell's mouth again;
As long as England's cliffs stand tall,
And the Channel tides do roll,
We will recall the Little Ships
That saved an army whole. (CHO)2X

~~~~~~~~~~

"The Evacuation at Dunkirk," from THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, June 8, 1940, pp. 766-767.
The small print under the headline says it was drawn by their 'special war artist', John A. Bryan de Grineau (1883-1957),
'from descriptions furnished by eye-witnesses.'

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Notes:

The evacuation of Dunkirk took place between the 27th of May and 4th of June, 1940, with a diverse fleet of civilian ships assisting in the rescue of 366,162 British and Allied troops.

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The Day of Little Ships

By Cicely Fox Smith 1940
From Punch magazine, Volume 198, June 19, 1940, p. 664

Long after the shadow of war is fled
And the last battle is fought
Men will remember the Little Ships
And the great things they wrought.

We shall tell over with laughter and tears
The homely names they bore
They, not meant for the baptism of fire
And the grim uses of war.

Paddler, dinghy and sailing barge
Eagle and Queen and Belle,
And the humble Marthas of the ports
That have no name to tell.

Let us remember them and their men
Who asked not fee nor fame,
But all they knew was a job to do,
And they spat on their palms and they came.

They dared the hell of the shell-swept dunes,
The hell of the bomb-torn tide,
They cared not a damn if they sank or swam,
Nor yet if they lived or died.

Home they came from that coast of death,
Each with her tale of men,
Stayed but to set them ashore and so
Back to hell's mouth again. . . .

Therefore, while England's cliffs shall stand,
And the Channel tides do roll,
Let us remember the Little Ships
How on the Day of the Little Ships
They saved an army whole.

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