Friday, November 09, 2007

I Will Remember. Always.....

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Major John McCrea, 1915

HMS Shakespeare

13 May, 1943, sinks the Italian sailing vessels Sant' Anna M. and Adelina with gunfire off the north-east coast of Sardinia. Sunk Italian submarine Velella off the Gulf of Salerno 7 September 1943. There were no survivors. 26 Oct, 1943, sinks the Greek sailing vessel Aghios Konstantinos 23 nautical miles north-east of Andros, Greece. 3 Nov, 1943, sinks a sailing vessel with gunfire off Kos, Greece. 3 Dec, 1943, sinks a sailing vessel with gunfire off Kos, Greece. Sank Japanese merchant Unryu Maru off Andamans 31 Dec 44. Damaged 3 Jan 45, South East Asia, off Port Blair area, Andaman Islands by gunfire of Japanese merchant ship, Wa 1, and later damaged in bombing attack. Surfaced to engage the merchantman and damaged by return fire, unable to dive. Later attacked from the air, 15 crew injured and radio destroyed. With a hole in the pressure hull and no radio, headed for the patrol area of sister s/m, Stygian, who radioed for help and sent engineers to assist with repairs. Still unable to dive, returned to Trincomalee two days later under escort. Beyond repair and written off for scrap.

My father was a radio operator on board the Shakespeare and was injured. The men successfully engaged the Japanese bomber with any available weapon from the deck of the submarine, as she sat helpless on the surface unable to dive. My personal thanks to all those who assisted during those three days.


Spadoman said...

I am a dumb ass American and am not familiar with Rememberance Day. Tell me about it, please.

I am assuming that it is the day you remember the fallen from war since you mention your Father.

Whether or not this is true, we celebrate Veterans Day here in the states on November 11th. We salute all Veterans, of all time. I salute all Veterans, even those on the "other side". After all, the war is over or rages on and they suffer, as we have suffered. Their families suffer as ours do.

I hope your Remembrance Day was good for all.

Thanks. Peace to all.

fjb said...

Oh Joe, you are so far from being "dumb" and you're definitely not a "dumb-ass"! American yes, dumb-ass, no.

Our Remembrance Day was originally called Armistice Day (November 11, 1918) signaling the end of WW1. It's been celebrated in Common Wealth countries ever since. Originally it was to commemorate those who fell in battle, but as the years went by, the importance of honoring the living veterans was recognized as just as important.

Major John McCrea, who wrote the poem "Flanders Fields" was a Canadian army medic, and his best friend was killed in one of the battles of Ypres (these were brutal - mustard gas, mud, trench warfare, lasting for weeks). What struck him as poignant was that even as the battle went on about them, the red poppies of Flanders still bloomed and that's what inspired him to write the poem. He himself was later killed. The poppies have since become the symbol of lost Common Wealth lives in war.

I've been attending the ceremonies since before I can remember, and it saddens me to see less and less of the earlier generations of veterans in attendance every year. What saddens me more is that there are so many younger ones now, and new names being added to the cenotaphs. It seems we haven't learned much from those who came before us.

Spadoman said...

Yes, Armistice Day. It is the same as what is now known as Veterans Day here on November 11th.

This year. it is a Sunday, so, banks and post offices are closed on Monday, November 12th.

But the Native American community celebrates and honors all Veterans on November 11th, no matter what day of the week it falls on.

Sunday, I will take a friend with me and we will go to this Veterans Honoring Pow Wow put on by the Lac Courte Oreilles, (La-coo'-der-ray), tribe of the Lake Superior Chippewa, (Ojibwa, Anishanabe).

All Veterans are honored, even those that are non Indian. We are announced, name by name and given a small gift and tobacco. We are fed a beautiful feast by the students and parents of the school.

I'll post about this with pictures after it is over. My friend is someone I served with in Vietnam in 1969. (he's napping right now, long day of flying and his arms are tired:-)

Thanks for remembering. Peace in your heart for the memory of your father.

Peace to all.

fjb said...

My son will be on parade and cenotaph guard on Sunday, and I'll post some pics, too.

mik said...

My father was on this submarine during this time have picturs and newspaper cuttings

fjb said...

I have a few pics, but they're not the greatest quality. I would love to see the newspaper cuttings. Dad passed away in 1979 so I no longer have the opportunity to ask him about it, so the only info I get is from my mom. My Dad was a "telegrapher" but wasn't on duty during the incident. He was wounded in the lower back, and had a substantial amount of microscopic shards of shrapnel in his body for the remainder of his life. I'll email you.

fjb said...

I guess I need your email address.:) If you want to share info, just send me an email at, and I'll get back to you. My son is so excited about this, he never had the opportunity to meet his granddad, and I think this brings him a little closer to knowing him a bit more.