by Kevin F Dunn
Children's poem about D Day.
|The Stuttering Hedgehog of World War Two.
The year was 1944, the second world war nigh through,
When a stuttering hedgehog named Jim, lay resting stretched out, on a rotted tree limb,
Staring up at the wide bonny blue.
An insect caught his eye, as it fluttered by.
Jim asked, "Are you a bu but but but butterfly?"
"NO" I'm a margarine fly, came the reply,
"That stuff's old-fashioned. And anyway didn't you know butter's rationed?"
"That hedgehog's a moron, Don't he know there's a war on?" the margarine fly muttered.
Jim stared right back and he stuttered, "I cu cu cu cu could have sworn it was butter."
Now this incident caused a profound change in Jim, Not common in hedgehogs at all.
He asked Winston the badger, Prime Minister of the wood, if a great council meeting he'd call.
The meeting was held by the light of the moon, all of the woodland was there.
Winston called them to order, bid them listen to Jim, and the hedgehog rose from his chair.
"Th th th there's a war on, you know," Jim stuttered, "W w w we animals must all do our share."
"We must build up an army and march off to war, before the Nazis can march over here.
Now the plans that were made in that small wooded glade, would alter their lives forever.
For the decision was made, to form the Woodland Brigade.
Their motto, Surrender? NO, Never!
Jim was promoted to field marshal hedgehog, by Prime Minister Winston that night.
Then came generals 'n' majors 'n' corporals 'n' captains. Things were well under way before light.
Wing Commander Goss Hawk was in charge of the course, of the W. A. F., the Woodland Air Force.
The main body of Bomber Command one should know was a hundred and thirty-one dirty old crows.
As demand for the bravest of animals grew, signs were posted on trees – that read -
Your Woodland Needs YOU!
Soon the war had made allies of horse flies and bats, 'n' foxes 'n' rabbits 'n' pigeons 'n' cats.
All these brave creatures to fight on one side. Strange how war brings together that which peace divides.
Winston the badger, Prime Minister of the wood, though too old to fight, built morale where he could.
"We'll fight them in the beeches, the oak, and the fir. We'll never surrender, NOT feather nor fur."
Now training an army's an arduous task, though each species gave all their commanders could ask.
Paragophers were paired up with pigeons to train, three drops a day, come hail, snow, or rain.
Whatever the weather, none were heard to complain.
Marksmanship, marching and poisonous gas, provided by skunks, only too pleased to be asked.
Overhead, a hundred and thirty-one crows in formation. Practising swooping and pooping caused quite a sensation.
At night in the royal oak they'd gather, an' they laughed an' they danced an' they sang.
Then at dawn, the brave fly-boys would take off once more,
Lots of "Whato-ol-chap wizard, prang."
When the training was over, every squirrel and mole, each rabbit 'n' fox, every weasel and vole,
Would be hard-fighting soldiers, both of honor and fame.
To fight – for the glory of Woodland – in Freedom's own name.
The Woodland War Council in great secrecy gathered to discuss how they'd attack Normandy.
They reviewed information from the brave S. H. S. The Special Hare Service,
The Woodland Brigade's best.
They discussed the weather, the moon, and the tide.
When would be D-day, they were here to decide.
Meanwhile – somewhere in England, in the name of the King,
Men pored over maps and discussed the same thing.
Taking into account the North Sea and the weather,
Both councils decided as if they were together,
That no time should be wasted. Now was most opportune,
Both armies would leave on the sixth day of June.
At a quarter past midnight the very next day,
Three owls towing gliders slipped quietly away.
Inside the gliders were shrews and equipment,
Their orders to disrupt any enemy shipment.
Soon after this, but still hours before light,
Both great armies began moving through the dark moonless night.
Regiment by regiment, brave animals on land,
Began boarding tree trunks and old garbage cans.
Under cover of darkness, the armada set sail,
Headed for France and what e're would prevail.
Back in Woodland the aerodromes bustled, bomber command marking time.
Squadrons of sparrows and starlings, one by one began falling in line.
Soon the order for takeoff was given. The crows began leaving in threes,
Heavily laden with bombs they barely skimmed over the trees.
Soon the whole sky was filled up with airforce. All flying wing-tip to-wing.
Then they turned and flew eastward together. Determined they'd settle this thing.
The landing craft now were well under way, Daylight began to appear.
Then the sky filled with wings headed eastward, And the noise of the crows filled the air.
Said Field Marshall Hedgehog to General frog, "Th th th that should soften 'em up, all right."
"Wh wh wh when those dirty old crows get through with them,
They won't feel much like a fight."
The air raid was highly successful, though losses were unfortunately high.
The enemy later reported, "They were awfully glad cows couldn't fly."
The Normandy coast came into view. Who would live to the end of this day?
Overhead there were Bomber Command crows headed the other way.
Some with their feathers on fire, and great gaping holes in their sides.
Wingtips blown-off, and unable to flap. Some almost unable to glide.
Field Marshall Jim Hedgehog, from his small boat could see, clearly off the port bow,
Allied landing craft, chock-full of men. He thought "Wh wh wh what are they doing here now?"
Then a U. S. Navy ship pulled alongside, and a general leaned out and said "Swell!"Are you little guys headed on up to the beach? Stick with us, come on, let's give 'em"...............
…..Well, to cut what's already a long story short, most of the Woodland Brigade made it through.
As they marched to Berlin, brass bands kicked up a din. And they all made it home – bar a few.
So if you should ever travel to France, stop off at the beach and by chance
You may happen to find, small white crosses in line.
The simple inscription on each of them reads:
The Bravest Animals in the Land, Were Field Marshall Jim Hedgehog's