A Jolly Family

This poem comes from a collection of letters, cards and written pages I found stored in a ‘Marlborough Christmas Cards’ packet.  Some of the letters are dated 1930s and an invitation is from 1902 but I can’t find an indication of when this poem was written.

A Jolly Family

A very grand old gentleman is Mr Carving Knife.

He lives in Sideboard Castle with, Lady Fork, his wife.

Their little ones are teaspoon boys as happy as can be.

Their favourite game is running round in all your cups of tea.

And ?Bash? the saltspoon small and sweet lives in the cruet cradle.

And the nurses name what do you think is Mrs Granny Ladle.

S. E. W.


A Birthday Wish – Rose A Porter

A Birthday Wish

Soft silver stars all shining bright

And gentle moon of quiet light

On you, they smile this silent night

With kindly warmth, from rainbow light

Dawn now breaks, soft grey, then white

To herald soon, your birthday bright


The sky once pale, now tinted blue

The earth is warmed with fragrant new

The trees, the flowers all drenched with dew

Rejoice and sing; their sun to woo

All nature now, awakes and coo

This song of happiness to you


On wings of love, one land and lea,

They dance their music with the sea

Boundless, joyous, happy, free

The waves leap high and reach to thee

And whisper songs of harmony

To enrich your vows all sacred three


All this He gives to you to-day

Because you follow in His way

You gave your all for Him to play

He took you happy free and gay

And thro’ your radiance of interplay

You gently guide us in His way –

St Winifred’s August 1945

Introduction to Rose’s book

Although I do not intend to share Rose’s observations on her patients, as I feel these are private notes, I felt that the introductory page which gives a little more information on where she was nursing helps put in context some of her poetry.  With this the references to where she worked and the people she encountered there that are in her poetry are a little clearer.



On September 25th 1942 I came to Penarth, & began working for Dr. Lindsay “Westcross”, his intention was for me to do visiting nursing during hte day & in the evenings to help him, in his surgery.  He was good enough to show me useful things in his dispensary & was always ready wiht advice, professional or otherwise.  He proved to be a great help, tolerant, with an invaluable sense of humour.  His great kindness and generosity I shall never forget, and for these I shall always feel greatly indebted.  A word here about Mrs Lindsay, she was always sweet and patient, even tempered & willing to give a helping hand at all times.  She was a good moral support.  They were both very hospitable twoards me, it was a pleasure to work for them.


Rose’s poetry – The Successful Wing Commander

This faded blue album begins with 2 pages of French dated 1912 then on the third page has the inscription –

Christmas 1942.  This book was given to me by my father, so that I could keep an account of my private patients in Penarth/Glam.  Previous to this it was used by my father for testimonials, re teaching.  Rose A Porter 27. XII. 42

At the back of the book, after the observations on the patients she encountered Rose has written a collection of poems.  The first is prefaced by this –

In May, Wing Commander McGovern, supervisor of M.O’s in the Air Ministry, took occasional evening surgeries for Dr Lindsay, who during this month was very busy with bringing Babes into the world. The “poem” on the opposite page, was “inspired” when Dr Lindsay, already busy on a case had an urgent message to go to yet another confinement but Wing Commander who was available went in his stead.  His feelings were not too happy, not having delivered an infant since his student days; however he was successful in impressing the household of his capabilities.  Dr Lindsay arriving on the scene before babe born. This caused much amusement at “Westcross” –

The Successful Wing Commander


At six o clock on Tuesday night,

The Wing Commander gay & bright,

Said “Lets begin & get there off

The doctor’s busy on an op:

He’ll be here when all is well

We’ll start the first, so ring the bell”.


The bell was rung & each in haste

Went into him to know their fate

When all at once the phone began

To make an awful din & clang,

“Please come at once without delay

The baby here, is on its way.”


“The doctor’s out, what shall I do!

Whoever can I send to you

The doctor’s busy on a case

Someone here now takes his place

Commander McGovern most kind indeed

I’m sure if I ask him, he’ll come & be pleased.”


“I’ll send him along at once to you

Don’t be alarmed he’s in Air Force Blue

He commands the men & commands the air

And for babes & such has quite a flair”

“Thanks” said the nurse “but oh what a stew

instead of the Lishman its Air Force Blue!”


The Commander with speed donned coat & hat

Picked up his case & thought that’s that

“I’m off” said he “to hold her hand

I’ll do my best or else I’m dammed

I’ll boil things up & have a big show

So my fear of babes, they will not know”


So off he went & marched very brisk

And tried not to think of perhaps the risk

He was Air Force Blue & commanded the air

He didn’t mind babes, or even a pair

He would be charming & kind & gracious too

He must remember his Air Force Blue


He rang the bell and walked inside

He was all puffed up and full of pride

He opened his case and with a flurry

He called the nurse & said “please hurry

Boil all these up and hurry along

If we’re prepared we can’t go wrong.”


“Here’s scissors & syringe & forceps too

And a hundred things for you to do

The water must be boiling hot

Have you prepared the baby’s cot?

Threaded needles, have you thought of that?

We must be ready for the Little Brat.”


Sleeves rolled up & gloved & gowned

He strutted up, he strutted down

The family raised their eyes to Heaven

So this was Wing Commander McGovern

He strutted up, he strutted down,

When aft he heard a sudden sound…


The voice he knew, t’was not the mother

It was – Ah God! – his professional brother

Beneath the gown his heart beat fast

“He’s come – before the babe – At last!

“Deliver the child, thats all you need do.

Everythings ready, I’ll leave you, adieu – “

R. A. Porter – 28.5.43