Mystery Poet V2 Flying Bomb Newburgh Priory Wartime Song Publication date: 7th February ORDER YOUR SUBSCRIPTION NOW.
—Sir: The poem “The English Language” was published in your spring 2017 issue (“This Sceptred Isle”) and credited Anon. I immediately recognised it as one written by a close friend C. M. (Mike) Bent. He died 10 years ago, but his wife, Viola, confirmed that the poem was his work, although he titled it “English as a Second Language” which has a subtlety that was typical of him.
Mike had many abilities and chief among these was what he called being a “verbal prankster”. As he has written: “This is perhaps as good a name as any to describe my lifelong romance with verbal dexterity and I fully admit to paronomasia. People say they are sorry to hear that I’ve got it and hope that I will get better soon. Personally I am delighted to have it, thank you. It’s from the Greek and just means wordplay. In no other language can so much fun be had as in English. However much you dislike the pun as a plaything it is the vehicle supreme of the double entendre. Light verse is my delight. Nothing serious.” Sir: I have read with interest the item from Adrian Cooper about his experience with a V1 on Waterloo Bridge (“Forget-me-nots”, Autumn 2017) and thought you might be interested in my “brush” with a V2.
During the war, my parents lived in Hampstead in London and we lived on a road called Broadhurst Gardens. On 8th January 1945, when I was nearly seven, my mother and I were walking along the road in the late afternoon. As I recall, it was not yet fully dark when we saw a glow in the sky above us travelling west on a descending trajectory and then it disappeared from view.
Very soon after there was a loud explosion and we later learned that it was a V2, which had struck about a mile away hitting houses at 112 – 116 Iverson Road and killing two people.
I have looked on Google Earth at the impact site and to this day the site of the houses Sir: Mention of Newburgh Priory (“Post Box”, Autumn 2017) brought back memories. I was a boarder at Lindisfarne College, Westcliff-on-sea, Essex, in the 1930s. In 1939 we were evacuated, first to Burnham-on-crouch, before we amalgamated with Pannel Ash College from Harrogate, which had moved to Newburgh Priory.
This caused great excitement among the boys as we had to hire a train to take us, and a lot of gear, to Coxwold from where we walked mile and suddenly saw this great lake below the priory.
It was understood that all or part of Cromwell’s body was buried in a vault at the top of a staircase. Sometime after I left there was a fire which destroyed the chapel and library. Subsequently the school, which was now known as Newburgh Priory School, moved to Wynnstay near Wrexham, but did not survive for many years. — Sir: My father joined the 2nd East Kent Regiment on the outbreak of the First World War. He fought at France and Gallipoli. He used to sing a song to my sister and me that no one has ever heard of, but I wondered if any of your readers had come across it or might have any information? The words are: