Written by David Hawkins – In memory of his father, Signalman William Douglas Hawkins
Dear brave and dashing Exmouth
Now berthed in the quiet deep,
No more to brave the storm lashed sea
Time now to gently sleep.
Your precious charges, guard them well
Keep them, comrades true,
Brothers in arms till the end of time
In the silent, timeless blue
Those precious hearts, in eternal sleep
Your silent guns, a vigil keep,
Rest where danger can never reach,
In the sanctity of the sacred deep.
Sleep brave ship, let no shadow fall,
In the gentle embrace of the sea,
Forever vigilant, guarded still,
In this we remember thee.
Rest brave ship, sleep and dream
Of proud pennant and ensign flying,
Sailing home, decks lined with blue
With the wind from the shore, gently sighing.
Turn away now, from the battle’s dread,
Steer for home, full speed ahead,
Of courage let no mantle cloak
The Exmouth crew, our Hearts of Oak.
Letter from HMS Exmouth dated 16th January 1940
written by Coxswain Ernest Davies
- click image to read -
Its treasures great and small
Each surging roll its salvage casts
While the wild sea birds call
But surely never round our coats
Were dearer treasures spread
Than when these Northern seas of ours
Gave up to us their dead?
The folks they gathered silently
In yon North Eastern town
They waited long and lined the streets
While sleet and snow poured down
They heard a sound slow moving feet
Brave comrades requiem tread
High honoured tribute paying
To the sea's most treasured dead.
For those dead heroes brother were
Or husbands, fathers, sons
Right gallantly they volunteered
To serve our nation's guns
To guard our coasts, to man our ships
Make safe our daily bread
And now alas, this solemn thought
Our seas give up their dead.
In saddened homes somewhere tonight
Heartbroken the twilight prayer
The Christmas prayer answered
In a father's vacant chair
While sweethearts sorely stricken
May now only memories wed
For these grey Northern seas of ours
Have given to us their dead.
They rest amongst their brothers
In a grey North Eastern town
Whose hardy brothers have ever
In ships to the sea gone down
In faith and hope we leave them
Until time itself hath speed
And God himself shall call the seaTo give up all its dead.