ROC or Firewatcher poem

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by BC610E, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Hi All,

    My wife has a habit of buying what she calls "boxes of tat" at local general auctions and occasionally she turns up some interesting war-related items amongst the out-of-date books and old magazines. In a recent buy we found a short hand-written poem, just a few lines about watching the skies over (I'm assuming here) WW2 UK. I'm not sure if the writer authored the poem or copied it from somewhere but I thought I would post it here in case it is of interest to those who study the Royal Observer Corps or other nighthawks like the firewatchers.

    It's not Kipling but worth preserving, IMO. If anyone recognises the poem I would be interested to hear from them. The other thing of note in the box of tat was a receipt from a police station dated 1946, for the handing in of a Smith and Wesson pistol!

    (Untitled and no author name)

    Long have the years been since first we manned the post
    and kept an endless vigil of the skies around the coast.

    Long have the winters been, dreary, wet and chill
    With cold that numbed our bodies but never dimmed our will.

    Long have the watches been with hostile planes up high,
    Throwing out their terror from the blackness of the sky.

    Long have been the hours that we waited for the dawn,
    When all around were sleeping and another day was born.

    Long has been the waiting while Britain gathered might
    But now our planes go seeking, the Vengeance of the Night.


    CL1 likes this.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    thank you for posting
  3. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day bc61oe.J/ or firewatcher poem.brilliant and thank you for bought back memories of fire watching in ww2.regards bernard85,
  4. Chats1

    Chats1 Junior Member

    Thanks for posting. The Smith and Wesson receipt is particularly interesting - does anyone know how commonly these were used during WWII? I know for example the Auxiliary Units were issued with Smith and Wesson's fairly regularly, but am unsure on the regular forces.

    Interested to hear people's thoughts.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  6. Chats1

    Chats1 Junior Member

    Love the picture Ron!

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.
  7. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Sorry guys,

    I shouldn't rely too much on memory! The receipt is not for a S & W but a (more common?) .32 Webley & Scott revolver (serial number 8302 if anyone is interested) and 69 rounds of ammo for it.

    I believe, looking at the name on the paperwork and the not too clear initials on the poem, that the revolver owner and poet may be one and the same person. Would the ROC have had guns? More likely he was a Home Guard officer?


  8. Chats1

    Chats1 Junior Member

    I pretty certain that the ROC were not issued with weapons so most likely he was involved in something else or was a personal sidearm "to take at least one of them with him"!
  9. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Yes, you would expect that if the gun had been issued as a piece of military hardware that he would have had to sign for it and would have turned it in on demob, so your guess that it was a personal firearm might well be right. No doubt guns brought back as war booty were a worry to the police post-war and possibly this particular gun was surrendered during an "amnesty" - there have been similar events for guns and knives in recent years. In fact, I see from a Google books search there was six-week amnesty in 1946, with 75000 firearms being handed-in, including 59000 pistols and 1580 machine guns!


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