Patricia Zapal

Patricia lives in South Haven, Michigan USA. As a young child during the war in the United Kingdom where she was born and raised, Patricia never really knew her father very well. It was only in later life searching for information about him that she discovered so much, not only about her father but about our whole family and their tradition as a naval family. Two of her cousins (who were themselves brothers) died in the same battle in 1941, albeit on different ships at the time.


Patricia’s Father, John
Patricia’s Uncle, John
Five from one family served in the war
Leaving mothers, sweethearts and wives
They went to sea and fought great battles
Two came home and three gave their lives

They served on battleships, cruisers and carriers
They served and fought on heaving decks
Two came home but never spoke of the war
Three lie buried beneath the ocean’s depths

They served on the Warspite, the Cornwall, the Hood
The Mohawk and other great ships of the war
Two came home to family and friends
Three are remembered for evermore

My father served on the Warspite
l wonder how he dealt with the fear
Of enemy ships, guns and torpedoes
Of knowing death was ever near

His brother served on the Cornwall
Bombed by enemy planes
Did he know how close he was to death?
That he’d never see England again?

John served on the Mohawk
His brother on HMS Hood
Their deaths came one after the other
Their mother mourned but never understood

I was too young to understand
When my father and uncle came home at last
They never told me of the heroes they’d lost
And to my eter/nal regret – I never asked

Now I’ve discovered these family heroes
I’ve learned they served and fought the good fight
I wish I could say, “I honour your service
And will keep your memories ever bright.”

I was just a child in the war when they served
And no one told me, so I never knew
I wish they could know how well they’re remembered.
But wherever they rest now, maybe they do.