Tuesday, 11 November 2008

At the going down of the sun...

In 1942 the New York Times said that 'even in peace-time the long coast of the British Isles is stormy and treacherous. In time of war...the work of the life-savers is a continuous test of skill and courage.'

Today we remember the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have taken part in armed conflicts for our defence. We might also remember the Lifeboatmen who put to sea to assist those who were in peril at sea during the dark years of the two world wars.

As an example, 19 lifeboats took part in the evacuation of British Soldiers from Dunkirk. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of men owed their lives to the brave acts of the heroic crews of the lifeboats. The Commander of the destroyer HMS Icarus said at the time, 'The magnificent behaviour of the crew of the Margate life-boat who, with no thought of rest, brought off load after load of soldiers from Dunkirk, under continuous shelling, bombing and aerial machine-gun fire, will be an inspiration to us as long as we live.'

In a typically British statement, the second in command of the small boats at Dunkirk said, 'I hope to have you (the lifeboat crews) with me at my next evacuation.'

We will remember them...

(Read 'Storm on the Waters' by Charles Vince)

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