By Alfred F. Harris (Boat's Crew) Ex Seaman Gunner,
Sombre and Sleek she slipped through the water,
Closing the Enemy Occupied Shore.
Poised to evade the many that sought her,
H.M. Motor Gun Boat was fighting her war.
Low silhouette and camoflaged paintwork.
Special her purpose and secret her plan.
Cloaked by the night and dark sea around her,
On smooth silent engines so softly she ran.
Action stations, with eyes ever watchful.
Men sought the white of an enemy wake.
Down in the waist, the boat's crews were gathered,
Stowing the gear that the small boats would take.
Reducing speed, now stop both the engines.
Starting to roll as she slowly lost way.
Charthouse and Bridge both checking position,
Sure to locate the right spot in the bay.
Glasses to Shorward watch for the signal.
Green glow that briefly shines through the night.
Small boats are outboard - in go the Seamen,
Setting their course for the faint distant light.
Clear the ship's side with a pull on the sweep oar.
Give way together, start in on the run.
Muffled and greased - the oars in their crutches,
Bowman and Stroke Oar dipping as one.
Feel the surf catch her and race for the shoreline.
Out boat the oarsman, feet grip the sand.
Turn her bows seaward, hold fast the gunwales.
Senses atert for the danger at hand.
Whisper of voices - forms in the darkness,
Quickly the cargo is moved up the beach.
Crunch of feet running, American Airman,
Head for the small boats, packed tightly in each.
Into the surf with the boats overloaden,
Heavy the pull with the oars digging deep.
Seeing the Mother Ship loom from the blackness,
Up ropes and scrambling nets hanging so steep.
Lash up the small boats. Set course for England.
Feel the winds bite through soaking wet clothes.
Welcome the dawn and first sight of Dartmouth,
Rig ship for Port-Side-To, All Engines Slow.