H M S GYPSY.

A war-time tragedy that I recall, is the Destroyer Gypsy's wreck.

I heard the cries of the wounded, as they writhed upon the deck.

"Put out the lights! Put out the lights!" I still can hear their screams.

Injured and dazzled by the glare, of probing searchlight beams.

I was close to Barrack Lane, that leads to Beacon Hill,

When the first explosion came, to split the night so still.

As I ran toward the sea, the Gypsy's boiler burst,

With another mighty BANG!! less violent than the first.

No one knew just what had happened, for with the harbour newly swept.

That a mine had caused the havoc, was quite hard to accept.

We could hear a turmoil off the shore, but nothing could been seen.

At first some thought, a Block-ship, was what it might have been.

Others when they heard the bangs, thought they might be bombs.

When the searchlights struck the spot, it was clear that they were wrong.

We could see the Gypsy’s bows and stern, and in between a space,

It became quite obvious, just what had taken place.

Some local people were aware, that a daring German plane,

Had swooped over the harbour, and then flown off again.

The authorities had suspected, that sea mines had been laid,

And before the Gypsy's fatal trip, several "sweeps" were made.

In spite of those precautions, she fell victim to a mine.

Not the type well known for years, but a revolutionary design.

The magnetic fields, of passing ships, through a progressive mode,

Closed the contacts of a switch, which made the mine explode.

I'd already seen the tragic end, of the Simon Bolivar,

Just on the horizon, outside the harbour bar.

Then only three days later, a tragedy once more.

The Terukuni Maru was blown up, a few miles off the shore.

The survivors of those disasters, were brought in to Harwich Quay,

Badly burned, lungs full of oil, when dragged out of the sea.

Those three tragedies happened, in the first few weeks of war.

A taste of suffering I'd see, ere peace returned once more.
 
 

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