It was about a year ago an e-mail I did get
From J-P Wuyts in Belgium, a man I’d never met
He wanted information, yes, could I shed some light
Upon a name he’d spotted that was on our website?
He’d found a piece of aircraft and grave of Penry Guy
And sought some further details of how and when and why
This fine, heroic pilot – and Gowertonian, too
Had crashed his plane in World War 2 and bravely saved the crew.
An open invitation was sent around the world
To members of our forum - the story was unfurled
We found a gent in Canada and still at ninety two
He flies a plane and surfs the net – just as the youngsters do!
He put us wise to all the facts – I stored it all on file
Then Jean-Pierre convinced Kathleen to celebrate in style.
We all arrived in Belgium, ‘twas in the town of Asch
And met with all the residents and mayor in his sash
Kathleen in her poppy dress, with daisy brooch in white
Rudi in his uniform was such a handsome sight!
A warm and hearty welcome was given to us all
And what a grand reception we had at the Town Hall
Camera men and TV crew, yes they were everywhere
Top Brass of the Military - and Alfie Jones was there!
And Stuart, Gill and Tony were guests of honour, too
So were Kath and the brass band, but just to name a few.
I was in a fancy hat, none other to be seen
Photographers came flocking, they thought I was the Queen
Presents we were given and in my heart I’ll keep
Fond memories of this event – and Bernard in the jeep!
Honoured by the RAF was pilot Penry Guy
And now at last his family had chance to say goodbye
His loved ones bravely listened, while shedding a few tears,
To details of that fatal crash - e’en after many years
Gill brought along her lock of hair, had many tales to tell
Of happy days and family ties – with photographs, as well.
An honour and a privilege for me to face the crowd
To speak for Gowertonians – I did Miss Bassett proud!
The wreaths laid at the cemetery, these memories will last
Of tributes to a hero - the flypast swift and fast
The Last Post and Welsh anthem, the brass band played for us
While all the while, behind the wall – the Gowerton School bus.
They’d travelled far these handsome lads, played music oh so sweet
And very soon the Belgian girls were falling at their feet.
We wined and dined and socialized, and highlight of our tour
Was meeting with the folk of Asch, so kind and warm – and more.
We marvelled at the cellar – museum underground
With many bits of aircraft and coins J-P had found
A pertinent reminder for us of World War 2
Then Connie served us pancakes – and we enjoyed those, too!
Compared and we contrasted our cultures and told tales
Of Gowerton School and of Penclawdd and of our life in Wales
We boasted of our beaches, breathtaking scenery
And taught them words like ‘cariad’ and ‘cwtch’ and ‘ych a fi’.
To Germany and Holland with Rudi and Kathleen
And trip across the River Meuse by ferry boat we’ve been
We loved to see the countryside, but favourite by far
For some was drinking Belgian beer down at the station bar.
Then came the time on Friday, an artwork to unveil
We trooped up to the forest, some walked, some went by train
We listened to a poem, so touching and so true
It told the tale of Penry Guy, his Lancaster and crew
We heard a word from dignitaries, and then the time was right
The monument to be revealed – a truly marvellous sight!
An upright wing of aircraft with debris from the crash
Erected at the very spot that it was found in Asch
Godparents of the statue, Suzanne and Jean- Pierre,
Have promised to look after it, and for it they will care
A mighty task you will agree but know they’ll do it well
But then for us we had to bid, a fond and sad farewell
So back for a reception we went along the track
But little train that took us there – it broke down going back!
We gathered for the dinner, the celebration meal
A banquet served at our hotel, the venue was ideal
We gave our hosts their presents – Welsh dragon, plate and tie
The speeches were before the meal and Kathleen told me why
She said that Belgians drink a lot, best not for us to wait
‘Til after we had eaten, lest things degenerate
I have to say that she was right, decision very wise
It wasn’t long, a drink or two, and men were swapping ties.
We have made good pals for life, the future’s looking bright
And we are so delighted, Friends, that you are here tonight
We’ve bonded our relationship and will be forming links
Between our two communities – a huge success, me thinks!
A poignant thought, our trip to Asch has been the reason why
Our lives are so much richer - because of Penry Guy