“As part of The Historic Dockyard Chatham’s First World War Centenary commemorations, an event of national significance will remember the three Royal Navy Cruisers – HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy – which were sunk by enemy submarine action on 22nd September 1914 off the Dutch coast in the North Sea with a total loss of life of 1,459 men. ”
From the Historic Dockyard Chatham website
YEARS ahead, years ahead,
Who shall honour our sailor-dead ?
For the wild North Sea, the bleak North Sea,
Threshes and seethes so endlessly.
Gathering foam and changing crest
Heave and hurry, and know no rest :
How can they mark our sailor-dead
In the years ahead ?
Time goes by, time goes by,
And who shall tell where our soldiers lie ?
The guiding trench-cut winds afar,
Miles upon miles where the dead men are;
A cross of wood, or a carven block,
A name-disc hung on a rifle-stock
These shall tell where our soldiers lie
As the time goes by.
Days to come, days to come
But who shall ask of the wandering foam,
The weaving weed, or the rocking swell,
The place of our sailor-dead to tell ?
From Jutland reefs to Scapa Flow
Tracks of the wary warships go,
But the deep sea-wastes lie green and dumb
All the days to come.
Years ahead, years ahead,
The sea shall honour our sailor-dead !
No mound of mouldering earth shall show
The fighting place of the men below,
But a swirl of seas that gather and spill;
And the wind’s wild chanty whistling shrill
Shall cry ” Consider my sailor-dead! ”
In the years ahead.
GUY N. POCOCK.
(From Page 100 of ‘Modern Poetry’ edited by Guy N. Pocock . (1920) )