Grey Dawns: WW2 Poems of a Soldier

Grey Dawns is an anthology of WW2 poems which have been published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of D-Day. It is an extraordinary collection, interspersed with biographical details which veteran Harry Rossney wrote during his lifetime and reflect his experiences of war. These eye-witness poems express something deep from the soul and transmit for posterity the emotion, pain and reality of war. Harry was always willing to share his experiences with groups as part of the education process. For over twenty years, he hosted the monthly reunion of his army colleagues in a continental café in Golders Green, North-West London. Grey Dawns conveys the fear and struggles of a life lived for six and a half years under Nazi tyranny, and the reality of war as experienced by Harry in the British army. Harry was exceptionally proud of his part in the British army, a very modest man, who sometimes felt that deep down he had been a coward. This he once expressed on a documentary for National Geographic Channel entitled Churchill’s German Army that told the story of the Germans who fought for Britain. Yet, Harry was no coward. He stared death in the face every day after the D-Day landings and carried the pain with him until his own death in 2013. This edition is a tribute to him, that his voice may live on through his poems and speak to new generations.

This anthology of poems is coming soon to Amazon. Available from mid-May 2014.

“What was my first impression of the ‘greatest invasion’ in history? Horror, at the ruthless destruction of properties and beautiful countryside. Shock, at the sight of dead bodies wrapped in blankets and the sight of make-shift graves. Finally fatigue. A never-ending tiredness. Dust, dirt, sweat, iron-rations, foxholes. We saw no bread for nine days and water was in short supply,” Harry Rossney 







 Red – Dust

From the edges of the sea

stretching over Normandy

lies a woven coat of grey.


The grave it covers on a bank

coating soldiers faces blank –

this dust itself seems dead …


but no … suddenly

it turns to life, as churning wheels

to battle drive and tired feet

keep dragging past.


Dust soaring over field and way

reforms anew; those chains in grey

that try to stifle natures breath.


Normandy’s face, so grey forlorn

with patches where young life

was torn … has names inscribed

in dust … now RED!

 (Normandy, 1944)

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