Poems provided by Helena members

A new poem by Charlie McClelland - posted 2 April 2008.

Mail Call
by Bill McClelland

We all looked forward to
mail call each and every day.
Letters, from home, meant so much
to us while we were so far away.

One could go for days, without mail,
when our ship was out to sea.
For it was the letters, from home,
we waited for so patiently.

For there was one letter I was
always anxious to see.
The one with the tear drops on
that my sweetheart mailed to me.

by Bill McClelland

We grew up together
my brother and I
On the many things we did
we saw eye to eye.

He was two years
But I was a little

At eighteen he joined the Navy
and went off to sea.
When I turned seventeen
I followed him to be as free.

We got together again,
both assigned to the same ship.
Life was moving along
at a very fast clip.

We went ashore on liberty
on that far away beach.
Never doing anything that
was out of reach.

All was going great until
that date in December of forty one.
When out of the sky, that morning,
came the sons of the rising sun.

Now all of you know
what happened next.
For it has been written
in every text.

But we were together again
and slowly on the mend.
Our great country was at war
and we still had it to defend.

After the war was over we went
to live in a different State.
We worked and raised our families
and on many things we still relate.

We attend our ships reunions
where ever that may be.
Shipmates now and forever
him and me.

So when you hear the laughter
coming from our room.
You'll know we are together again
sweeping away any gloom.

Thanks to
Charles (Bill) McClelland
for the three poems.
USS Helena CL-50
"F" Division S1c
9/39 - 8/42

To the Marines of WW II
by Charles (Bill) McClelland

From the waters of Pearl Harbor
to the Islands of Japan.
They fought in many battles
and on the Beaches of Saipan

From the Guadalcanal Jungles
and Iwo Jima's black sand,
from the Okinawa Mountains
they took away their land.

And in the Blue Sky's above
in their airplanes they flew.
They shot down many
a Zero's crew.

On the battleships and cruisers
they helped man the guns at sea.
Just to keep all those
at home happy and free.

We saw them train and fight
under every condition.
Like all the Marines before them
they had a proud tradition.

Now when you see them in their
uniforms looking so neat
I'll tell you that they are
United States Marines and they can't be beat.

Troop Ships
by Bill McClelland

All the troop ships of WW II were old and slow.
And, as always, crowded with soldiers down below.

They fed you only twice a day.
From the chow line you dare not stray.

You were lucky if you got a sleeping bunk.
It was like living out of a trunk.

There was always a crap game going on.
With a roll of the dice you lost or you won.

Blackjack and Poker you could play anytime.
Where you could bet a dollar or a dime.

Small fortunes were made by a few.
Most ended up broke, sad and blue.

The passageways were always full of troops and crew.
You lined up for everything you wanted to do.

You could write a letter to family or friend.
But the mail took forever just to send.

A Chaplin would conduct services on this ship.
For all the passengers making the trip.

And you said a prayer every day.
Just to help you on your way.

All were headed for a foreign port.
Where your countrymen needed your support.

You went forward down the gangplank.
To a country where they called you, "Yank".

The future wasn't very bright.
There was going to be a hell-of-a fight.

The lucky ones returned from those far away lands.
The hero's were left buried in the sands.

Now is the time for us to remember and pray.
For all those men and women who were in harms way.