Soldier’s poetic tribute to the fallen

PROUD MOMENT: Barbara Carling with her son Connor French at his passing out parade.;
PROUD MOMENT: Barbara Carling with her son Connor French at his passing out parade.;
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A POEM written by the soldier son of a Sunderland student has become one of the poignant exhibits on display which helped mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Sapper Connor French, who is serving in the Royal Engineers, wrote the poem after visiting the prisoner of war camps and Normandy Battlefield sites of the Second World War.

He was only 17 when he visited Pointe du Hoc, Pegasus Bridge and the Merville Battery Museum as part of his initial training.

Connor, who is now 20, left his poem at Bayeux Memorial in tribute to the casualties of the war.

His mother, Barbara Carling, who is studying an Access to Higher Education course in educational studies at Sunderland College, donated a copy of the moving poem to be featured in its exhibition at Washington Campus.

It is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and the fallen soldiers of the Second World War.

Barbara, 37, from Washington, said: “I am extremely proud of Connor and I am also extremely proud that he has so much compassion for others which prompted him to write the poem.

“The display in Washington Campus is fitting and moving. I think it is imperative that we remember the terrible events surrounding the wars. Millions of people, soldiers and civilians sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom, how would we be repaying them if they were forgotten?”

Ros Jackson, the college’s chaplain, organised the striking memorial which features a flame-effect fire, messages from students, information about the Holocaust, the Cross of Liberty and Connor’s poem.

Ros said: “Barbara is intensely proud of her son’s poetic skills, which show powerful feelings towards those who sacrificed their lives in World War Two.”

The poem

The sea filled with red,

From blood, oh, so cold,

Not one of our heroes will ever grow old,

They lead through a path

Filled with wrong, hate and greed,

Because of those heroes,

We are now freed.