Rank after relentless rank they came,
Facing guns, bombs and flame,
Six thousand craft, ten lanes wide,
Advancing in the ripping tide.

Seven hundred warships too,
Armed and set with a job to do
Fast mine sweepers at the van,
Fighter squadrons weaved and ran.

Twenty miles across the beam,
The greatest convoy ever seen,
Endless columns of surging craft,
Landing ships with shallow draft,

Liners, ferries, packed with troops,
Attack transports, army groups.
Barrage balloons on display,
Spread across this vast array,

Red Cross vessels, laden tankers,
Ancient tubs missing anchors.
Coast guard cutters, motor boats,
Painted out in grey topcoats.

Channel steamers, out from Dover,
Modern freighters steaming over,
Winking lights as morse is spoke,
Rusty coasters belching smoke,

Swarms of tugs, rolling tramps,
Packed with stores, guns and tanks.
They sailed this day for liberty
To crush the foe and set us free.

Joe Earl