Unsung Heroes by Deanne Heron
A poem that acknowledges those war heroes of the Caribbean who left their own mark on history. Accolades are meaningless if some of those deserving are deliberately excluded.
Weep for the unsung black war hero
Where he lies in his nameless grave, Blotted from the pages of history
With no-one to tell that he too was brave.
From Commonwealth he came without prompting
For Mother Country to fight, And when the war ended his comrades
Were quietly ushered away out of sight.
A wife lost her husband and a mother
Lost her only beloved son, So eager to do his duty
Although he had not yet seen twenty-one.
Now he lies in some foreign field
With only wild birds to sing his song. Bringing sadness to my heart
As I wonder how we can right this wrong.
Silence in his family Great Hall
Not from respect but gross neglect, As in anguish he cries from his forgotten tomb
... lest we forget! lest we forget!
Images of my grandfather rubbed out
Of history books, documentaries and films, No pension for his widow and sons
nor gratitude for severed life and limbs.
The 139 Jamaica Squadron, Gurkhas,
Anonymous African regiments too, Never have so many owed
Such unpaid debt to such patriotic few.
Hang your head in shame Tilbury Docks for hostility
As Empire Windrush brought the heroes back, To a country ignorant of £6.1 billion given
In raw materials, food and extra colonial tax.
Do you know of the black factory workers,
Forestry workers in Scotland from Belize? The black Merchant seamen who kept
Britain’s trade routes open on the high seas.
Royal Air force fighter pilots,
Bombing crews, ground staff men and women too, Who did duty without complaining
Simply because it was the right thing to do.
Toiling behind the scenes, shedding red blood
On muddy battle fields what does it matter if you died well, Films still depict you smiling with broom in hand
Because heroic coloured faces don’t sell.
Deanne Heron – June 2014
Deanne Heron has been writing since she was a teenager. She chronicles the life of the Jamaican pardner society in her brilliant and hilarious book, Pardner Money Stories, which is available on Amazon.