- THE VETERANS
- THE POEMS
- ABOUT BRITAIN IN POETRY
- GET IN TOUCH
1942. Montgomery's Eighth Army are locked in struggle against the Axis forces under Rommel, the Desert Fox, in the Western desert of North Africa. Amidst the fighting, just after the Battle of El Alamein, a poetry competition is held for the troops. Over four hundred poems are submitted, of which 27 are chosen to appear in a book, including one anonymous one that was said to have been ‘blown by the wind into a slit trench at El Agheila during a heavy bombardment’ – A Soldier, His Prayer.
The poems tell of love and loss, hopes and fears, the thoughts of ordinary young soldiers, many of whom had never left home before, catapulted from Europe into the vast, barren, inhospitable Western desert of North Africa and its no-place-to-hide warfare.
Among them is Isaac, a young man in his twenties from intelligence corp. His poem, depicting the historic Battle of Alamein, wins first prize, presented by General Montgomery himself. Seventy years later, he recalls the battle and is captured on camera reciting his poem for the first and last time.
This film tells the story of the Eighth Army, told through the accounts and poems read by the men who were there and the women left behind. A last account before they themselves pass into history. 2015 is the anniversary of the end of World War II, but few now are left to tell the tale.
It is a universal film. Though written by the allied forces, the poems tell of experiences common to Italian and German soldiers too, who shared the desert war.
The film is currently in production and is scheduled to be released to coincide with the anniversary of the end of World War II next year (2015).