I ENCLOSE a poem, about my Uncle Joe, who went to Normandy on D Day.

I was 14 years old at the time, I am now in my eighties.

Twenty years ago, I went to France to look for his resting place.

I enclose this poem as a tribute to my Uncle Joe.

As they say, this is an important date. The poem is fact, not fiction.



I WAS sitting at my desk in school
When my friend came up and said
Your family has had bad news
Your Uncle Joe is dead

Now he was such a lovely man
And would help you if he could
Never saw wrong in anyone
Only saw the good

He was in the D Day landings
In Normandy, in France
And like a million others
He had to take his chance

It was going through a cornfield
Between Bayeux and Caen
That a sniper’s bullet hit him
And killed that gentle man

I made myself a promise
If that way one day I did go
I would try and find the resting place
Of my Uncle Joe

The years went by and just by chance
I took a holiday to France
From Cherbourg on to Bayeux
From Bayeux on to Caen

But nowhere could I find the resting place
Of that English man
I returned once more to Bayeux
To the war cemetery I did go

And there I saw a gardener
I’ll ask him, maybe he will know
I showed him Joe’s name, rank and number
But he sadly shook his head

‘Wait, I’ll get my superior,’
The gardener softly said
His superior was very helpful
‘Please telephone here madame
They will tell you what they know
And help you if they can’

They found his name, rank and number
And there’s a journey not too far
He’s buried in a village
By the name of St Manvieu

The journey through the countryside
Was getting out of hand
So I went up to a farmhouse
And said ‘pardon me, madame
I’m looking for the war cemetery
I can’t see it in sight’
She said ‘One hundred metres down the road
Then take the turning right’

As I turned the corner
It’s walls came into view
Was I really here at last
To pay my respects to you

I wandered through the headstones
And found your resting place
It’s kept as it should be
With dignity and grace
I stood a while in memory
In that foreign silent space
And I couldn’t stop the tears I shed
From running down my face

I remember all the happy days
When I sat upon your knee
And all the funny stories
You used to tell me

And so at last I found you
And to complete my quest
I sprinkled soil I brought from home
On the place you’re laid to rest

You’ll live on in my memory
Wherever I may go
To me you were someone special
You were my Uncle Joe