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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 12 (March 1, 1940)

“The Navy's Here!”

page 10

“The Navy's Here!”

The British destroyer Cossack rescued 300 merchant seamen prisoners from the German “hell ship” Altmarck in the North Sea off the Norwegian Coast. A member of the crew from the Tairoa, John Quigley, said they first knew they had been rescued when a voice shouted “Any Englishmen here? The prisoners replied “Yes,” whereupon the voice answered “Well, the Navy's here, boys,” All cheered madly.

London Cable Message, 17th February, 1940.

“The Navy's here!” Across the tide
Of Nelsons, Rodneys, Beattys, Drakes,
In voice of youth, all England's pride
Sounds (as the grinding ice-floe breaks)
With accents clipped, concise and clear
Through Norway haze—“The Navy's here!”
Son of a race designed to rule
By faith and fairness, custom, fain,
“Smiling and tall—handsome and cool”
In the evening hush of the stark sea-lane
His voice gives tongue to far and near—
The Lion's roar—“The Navy's here!”
Grey, weary days through combers steep
The “Cossack” rolls, in constant quest
For fleeing “Altmarck,” in whose keep
Three hundred Britishers lie pressed:
Till from the sky the word is sped—
“The oily Altmarck's right ahead!”
Then twists and turns of German cunning,
As the grim avenging ship drew near
Ended with Nazi gunmen running
From that which keeps the ocean clear,
Makes dastards quake, but Freemen cheer—
Brave Trinity—“The Navy's here!”
Thrilled to the soul, the tears will start
And pride—an unconditioned thing—
Will well within each British heart
As, in the days of peace to spring
From this war welter, some wise seer
Recalls the rune—“The Navy's here!”
Wherever freedom dares to breathe
Or honour hold a place
All down the longitudes of time,
The latitudes of space,
A light to show the way to go,
A mark whereby to steer,
That dauntless, deathless battlecry—
All's well!—“The Navy's here!”