The Men of the Sea: Merchant Navy

A deck boy on a ship on a convoy to Russia

What is the Merchant Navy?

The merchant navy is a term used to refer to the commercial sector of the maritime industry. The merchant navy has no involvement in military service, but rather the shipping of cargo and people across sea routes aboard cargo ships, tankers, and cruise liners.

Merchant seamen crewed the ships of the British Merchant Navy which kept the United Kingdom supplied with raw materials, arms, ammunition, fuel, food and all of the necessities of a nation at war throughout World War II — literally enabling the country to defend itself.

This ode to The Men of the Sea, written by E. G. Ruckes, was published in the Bromley & District newspapers on 7th May 1943.

The Men of the Sea

In Praise of Our Merchant Navy.

The sea is in the blood of the foe;
For the daring deeds of  our forefathers
All the records of history show;
And still gallant be the men of the Sea,
those who man our ships to-day;
Those fine little ships of the convoy class,
Who travel the ocean way.
Through the dead of night, when the stars shine bright,
Or the waves are tossing high;
Dick, Harry or Bob, get on with their job
Though U-boats are passing by!
Without any fuss, they carry to us
The food that we sorely need;
While some may be sunk, they still never funk!
But “carry on” with all spped.
Although many have died a hero’s death,
And have found a sailor’s grave,
All those who survives, whilst thy are alive,
Return to the ocean wave!
They are never happy on land again,
Whilst the “sea bug’s” in their veins!
they must sail the oceans while life lasts,
Regardless  of worldly gain!
So here’s to the Men of the Merchant Fleet,
They’re the bravest of Britain’s sons;
They still ride the foam, many miles from home.
In spite of all enemy guns!

E.G. Ruckes

Merchant Navy poem by EG Rucker, World War two

Bromley & District Times, 7th May 1943, page 2

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