Christmas 1943

’twas the day before Christmas and not even the robin,

with it’s beautiful song, could drown out the sobbing

of so many people who’d lost family that year

World War Two took many who were held so dear

* * *

One disaster took loads at once without warning

as they made their way to be safe ’til the morning

The stairs where they queued were wet and dark

when new guns were heard firing in Vicky Park

* * *

No-one knew if they were ours or theirs

so they hurried their pace to get down those stairs

A lady with baby and bundle, she fell

causing others to fall in that fated stairwell.

* * *

One hundred, seventy-three the death toll was

plus lots more injured, the reason because…

No centre rail, those guns or the gerry’s?

That lady who fell or because of so many?

* * *

There is no answer, it was ‘one of those things’

Rumours tell of thefts of stuff, even rings

Who knows the reality, there’s not many left

But we know for sure, many were left bereft.

* * *

The tragedy was kept secret by those in high power

not wanting enemy propaganda our reputation to sour

So it was kept ‘hush hush’ ~ the order of the day

Everyone kept ‘mum’ but now I must say….

* * *

WE YELL FROM THE ROOFTOPS, MY GT.NAN WOULD BE PROUD,

WE TELL EVERYONE NOW, WE SHOUT IT OUT LOUD

TO REDRESS THAT WRONG AND REMEMBER THEM ALL

NIGHT NIGHT MY DARLINGS, SLEEP WELL, MISS YOU ALL.

© Anna Reid

Written about the Bethnal Green disaster on the 3rd of March 1943 in which my gt.nan was killed. You can read more at http://www.stairwaytoheavenmemorial.org Donations always welcomed  to help with maintenance. The memorial was finished in early 2018.

BG memorial 2018

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