This poem was donated by the family of Len Scott and the original is stored in the Dock Cottage. I have tidied the last line to make sure the SS Beaverford is remembered – another lightly armed Merchant ship that took on the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer to give the convoy time to disperse. The Beaverford was lost with all hands.
The uncle of one of our members, Capt. Roger Francis, was lost in this action. Tellingly, no gallantry award was made the Beaverford or her Master – she was registered as a Merchant, not a Royal Navy vessel.
Thirty eight ships with food for you,
Thirty eight ships that must get through
Atlantic calm and the dusk of day
And a shell screamed over the Jervis Bay
Thirty eight ships full steam ahead
Off with their precious cargoes sped
But over to where the warship lay
Guns ablaze went the Jervis Bay
This was the end, her Captain knew
Fegan knew it and all her crew
Buying minutes with lives to pay
Lord they were men on the Jervis Bay
Pounded, shattered, smashed and lame
Fighting on with decks aflame
She sank with the sun at the death of day
And a gun still spoke from the Jervis Bay
Thirty eight ships with food for you
Thirty four ships came safely through
But the finest ships that docked that day
Were the Beaverford and, the Jervis Bay
By: Dick Dewsknap, HMS Shropshire, 1940.