If I should never see the moon again
Rising red gold across the harvest field,
Or feel the stinging of soft April rain
As the brown earth her hidden treasures yield.
If I should never hear the thrushes wake
Long before the sunrise in the glittering dawn,
Or watch the huge Atlantic rollers break
Against the rugged cliffs in baffling scorn.
If I have said goodbye to stream and wood,
To the wide ocean and the green-clad hills,
I know that He who made this world so good
Has somewhere made a heaven better still.
This poem was written by Major Malcolm Boyle (known as Sandy) of the 7th Battalion The Green Howards shortly after landing on Gold Beach on the 6th June 1944. He sent it to a friend in another regiment.
Major Boyle commanded D Company, and the battalion faced bitter fighting in the Normandy countryside in the days following the D-Day landings.
On the 16th of June, the 7th battalion was advancing along the road south west of the hamlet of les Orailles, with D company one of those leading the advance.
They came under attack from German 88mm guns, heavy machine gun and mortar fire. Amongst the dead were the two leading company commanders – Major Boyle being one of them.
“The sudden loss of these two officers had a depressing effect on us all. We were in a very sombre mood.” wrote Private Tateson.
Sandy Boyle is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery.
National Poetry Day is on 8th October 2015. This year’s theme is ‘light’.