Tuesday 6 August 2013

Admiral Sandy Woodward: Blood and Admiralty

We have fed our sea for a thousand years
And she calls us, still unfed,
Though there's never a wave of all her waves
But marks our English dead:
We have strawed our best to the weed's unrest,
To the shark and the sheering gull.
If blood be the price of admiralty,
Lord God, we ha' paid in full !

"People will die, ships will be lost, that's the deal. Go to it."  We are unlikely to call on naval leadership like his again.  Lone Trident submarines on patrol; the odd salvo of cruise missiles when the USA asks for a bit of company on one of its adventures; mine-sweeping in the Gulf; shooting up pirates offshore Africa - no, not really fleet actions at all.

Then again, who could have foreseen the Falklands ?

*  *  *  *  *  *
 And what shall we do when the cry goes up next time - The Hun is at the gate ! - eh, Cameron ?

Comfort, content, delight,
The ages' slow-bought gain
They shrivelled in a night ...

And who now is prescient to ensure ... a little State might ride secure / at sea from foes her sloth made bold  - eh, Hammond ?

The moneys that should feed us
You spend on your delight
How can you then have sailor-men
To aid you in your fight ?



corncrake said...

As a fellow Cornishman I served out there with him in those not too be forgotten days.
Sad to see the Beeb having a dig at him by twice mentioning the Admiral Belgrano.
We would be lucky to defend the IoW with the Navy Cameroon has butchered. Let alone recover the Scilly Isles!

Anonymous said...

I have never read a history of the Falklands war where the Belgrano was seen as anything other than a military target in a war zone.
Even the book written by the Argentinians admits that.

Fundamental misunderstanding of an exclusion zone.
Military vessels are never excluded.

Sackerson said...

Just a quibble: I understood that Tam Dalyell's Parliamentary questions established that the Belgrano was out of the exclusion zone and sailing away at the time she was sunk. Am I wrong? Not that we applied these sorts of rules to the Bismarck etc, war is war.

Is there some strange hidden motive in weakening our armed forces? Are the politicians daft, or deft?

Thank you, Mister Atkins...


BrianSJ said...

His book
is a great read.

dearieme said...

I finally soured on "Defence" expenditure when I realised it gave Blair a toy box of shiny methods of attacking and killing people who represented no threat to vital British interests.

Cameron's indulging in the same ploy over Libya just confirmed my sourness.

Anonymous said...

"Sad to see the Beeb having a dig at him..."

After the burial-parties leave
And the baffled kites have fled
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
To take account of our dead.

How he died and why he died
Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones
And dig till they come to it.

Who, being soulless, are free from
Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man's
name --
That is reserved for his kind.

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