For St George’s Day – a poem found hanging on the wall of the Naval and Military Club, Southend on Sea

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The Little Boats of England

The little boats of England, the little motor boats,
The little penny steamers, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats
Thre Brighton Belle, the Margate Queen, the Vigilant, the Lark,
The Saucy Jane, the Gracie Fields, even a Noah’s Ark,
Picked up their country’s message, that our backs were to the wall,
There is danger, there is danger, will you answer to the call?
Francis Drake, Collingwood and Nelson of the Nile,
Were on their quarter decks again, you should have seen them smile,
When all the little boats pulled out, from Dover to Dunkirk
To bring the British Army home, that was the job of work;
For how they performed their fearful task, the epic of those days
The history books will tell our sons, but let us sing their praise
And as they lie at anchor, from Newcastle to Poldhu,
With their battle scars upon them and with pennants red and blue
We say to them with grateful hearts, and voice that’s like to break
Lord Nelson would be proud of you; so would Sir Francis Drake.

By Ivor Back, 1940