A poem of home from a prisoner of war

I enclose a poem that was written by my cousin Ted Fenwick whilst he was a prisoner of war in Italy 1943.

This man escaped and then lived with an Italian family until the war ended.

Very shortly he will have to leave this area, an area where he was born and loved. This is due to both he and his wife Joyce are moving to a nursing home in the south of England.

Ted is now 94, three years ago he climbed Roseberry Topping with me. He was brought up in Houlsyke, a farm boy until joining the army in 1940. He wrote the poem in 1943.

LW Harrison, Runswick Avenue, Acklam, Middlesbrough


Now this little place that I’ll try to describe,

Is unknown to many in this land so wide.

It is up the Esk Valley 12 miles from town,

The town of Whitby a fisherman’s home.

It’s a very small village, population quite a few.

Five small farms or a bungalow or two,

Several cottages making 14 in all.

Then comes the chapel, where on Sunday’s we call.

We don’t have an Inn, a shop or a club.

And even to the station there’s two miles to chug.

Now it looks very hard living here you think,

But no, everyone is friendly and helpful.

A moral that won’t sink.

It’s the place of my birth and my mother’s before.

It has acted as bird’s nest to many a score.

But they all fly away when they get in their teens,

To places more busy with pictures and screens.

Five years I have been from that quiet old shack.

Bustled around, but oh to be back.

Away from the strife that we have been led,

To a life worth living, good food and bed.

Yes friends, my thoughts are still with you.

As the weeks come and go,

Imagining your faces as the firesides glow.

And when the war is over and I am set free,

I’ll be in old Houlsyke, the birthplace of me.

Ted Fenwick POW Italy 1943