If ever there were two sister services the Royal Canadian Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard would be those two. This poem was submitted by a new found friend, Jim McAllister formerly of the RCN and it is an honor and a privilege to reprint it here.

THE BOYS IN NAVY BLUE

1939-45 Author Unknown

 

Who are these boys in Navy Blue,

This rough, unruly, noisy crew

That sing and shout, so late at night,

That get so drunk they're like a blight.

 

Who are these men? The scum of earth.

What do they do? What are they worth?

They walk the streets in fours and fives

Hunting pubs and lower dives.

 

I'll tell you about these boys in blue

Where they come from, what they do.

I'll tell you their story, then you shall judge

If you have a right their fun to judge.

 

These lads have homes just like you,

Somewhere they have loved ones too.

They left their home, not just for fun

But saw their duty, there was work to be done

 

When war came to our fair land,

They loved as a country grand,

And knew the sea could be the way

To bring our country peace one day.

 

This land of ours seemed so secure,

The army, the air-force here for sure.

But these lads sail the ocean deep

For days on end and seldom sleep.

 

Civilian, Soldiers, and Airmen too,

Have you ever thought what it would mean to you

If necessities like food and planes

Could not come through the shipping lanes?

 

These men knew this, and donning blue

Their thoughts were of their country and you.

For they knew the Navy had no back door,

They knew the hazards twixt shore and shore.

 

So these lads sail the ocean wave,

Knowing full well it may be their grave.

A ceaseless vigil they ever keep

Hunting marauders that lurk in the deep.

 

On steams a convoy, slow and grand

A thousand miles from any land

And around her sails, like greyhounds lean,

The ocean escort, alert and keen.

 

And then comes the time of day,

When all looks dismal, cold and grey,

Which heralds the approaching night

When eyes start straining and never grow tight.

 

The men then straighten at the posts

Dim shapes hovering there like ghosts.

And in the silence they often pray,

That God will grant them another day.

 

For this half light, preceding night

Aids the foe in this great fight.

Their wolf packs may lie in wait

To vent their malicious hate.

 

The minutes pass, then there's a stir

A voice says quietly "a contact, Sir"

A sigh goes round, but not of fear.

The enemy is creeping near.

 

An ocean greyhound leaps away,

Searching for the slinking prey.

Charges thunder through the nite

Churning the sea to a milky white.

 

And then far over, a roar, a flash,

Shows there's many a foe to thrash.

For there is a crippled merchant vessel

Drops back, her crew with life boats wrestle.

 

The fight is on and things look grim

Still charges roar and guns are trim.

Each man's eyes piercing through the night

Searching for the foe they long to fight.

 

At last, look there, up from the sea,

A huge black form is blasted free

There's a roar of guns and a render of steel

As the enemy U-Boat is seen to reel.

 

She trembles, then breaking

Slides down out of sight

Taking her crew to eternal night.

But for those who sunk her

 

It's just begun

There are more yet,

The fight is not done.

So the long night drags away

 

Until at last it is break of day,

When all is peaceful and the sea looks serene.

Only these boys know what it has been.

Faces all black but still able to smile

 

They plop on the deck where they stood for a while

To check, check again

Then recheck.

The forty odd ships,

 

They may have lost two

Not bad, considering the night they went through.

Men are killed and injured

All part of the cause.

 

It's small to think

Of what the enemy lost.

A U-Boat lost by the foe

It may be weeks before they will know.

 

Meanwhile, a gap in the forces is made

A submarine sceptre has been layed.

So these men live for two weeks or three

On that slim little island out to sea

 

With never a comfort, just cold and damp

Each man be-whiskered, each man like a tramp.

And often as well the fresh food runs short

As they search around still days from port.

 

At such times as these they must make out

On hard biscuits and cocoa or do without.

Now maybe some of you people will see

These lads are not like you or me

 

Whenever in port they must let go

Whatever their impulse, it's not just show.

 

So people of Canada who will be free

As long as the Navy rules the sea

Thank God, these, though noisy true,

When war came, chose the Navy Blue!