Friday, March 8, 2013

Vignettes from a world at war

Go back to early morning,  November 12, 1942. Approach the shores of North Africa in an LCM, a mechanized landing craft. And keep your head down.

'this hour'

Young men, fated to survive
and become old men dying abed 
half a century hence,
would forever remember
this hour,

when an army at dawn
made for the open sea
in a cause none could yet comprehend.
Ashore, as the great fleet glided past,
dreams of them stepped,
like men alive,
into the rooms where
their loved ones lay sleeping.

[pg. 41, An Army At Dawn re North Africa, by Rick Atkinson]

[A landing craft, Kiska file]

While reading the above passage recently, I was reminded of a line or two from my father's WW2 memoirs:

'what a sight'

One November morning
the huge convoy, perhaps 500 ships,
entered the Mediterranean sea
through the Strait of Gibraltar.
It was a nice sun-shiny day...
what a sight to behold.

[pg. 25, "Dad, Well Done", Doug Harrison's navy memoirs]

Once the ship he served upon reached its appointed destination along the coast of North Africa, his sight-seeing was over. Work began.

2nd photo by GH


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