Lynmouth Devon 12th January 1899.
That stormy night – we watched them leave.
Their plan, it touched our hearts.
What they will do, hard to believe,
but here, our story starts.
As winter cruel, their bones did chill,
‘Make haste!’ the coxswain bid.
It took short steps, to meet the hill,
where moonless path was hid.
And distant miles, we all did know,
but we, did silence keep.
O’er moor and hill in gale and snow,
they’d march, while children, sleep.
One mile, four hours, to Countisb’ry,
Inn’s refuge next the moor,
not one of them, could disagree,
the easy choice, for sure.
Some cold and beaten, must head home,
the crew though, still advance.
For ship adrift, in wave and foam,
may still be saved, perchance.
By night and sleet, frail road obscured,
like trackless moorland waste.
Pained heroes all, fierce cold endured,
in silence, still made haste.
Those desperate men must doubt, it’s said,
but hope, still filled their soul,
‘gainst mud, and blood - four horses dead,
the rescue, still their goal.
Then, ten miles on, at Porlock hill,
exhausted, sure, they’d be.
While thoughts of home, can test their will,
from duty - none were free.
Once on the beach at Porlock Weir,
high tide, floods in again,
yet boat is launched, and scorning fear,
makes way, through spray and rain.
Daring, ‘gainst such stormy weather,
through tempest, crew did row,
‘tis now, they’ll live or die together,
and we might never know.
No news came home, to cheer us all,
our village, drowned in sadness.
While out at sea, the Forrest Hall,
a rescue, born of madness.
Oh, such brave crew, the tales they’ll tell.
How, when, by moorland track,
they fought their way, through gates of hell,
then safe, by sea, came back.
RJS May 2019
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