HMS Terror, HMS Terror naval base, Lion of Singapore, poem, poetry, Sembawang docks, Singapore, Traditional Australian poetry, Woodlands
Since 1696 nine ships of the Royal Navy have had the name
“HMS Terror”. The sixth HMS Terror explored the Antarctic and Arctic before being lost in the ice. She is mentioned in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. The last HMS Terror was the naval base at Sembawang in Singapore ( a so called stone frigate) from 1945 to 1975.
By “Terror” known – the name they proudly bore;
At Sembawang the last was built.
She languished there beside this foreign shore;
Her namesakes sinking in the silt.
For centuries they sailed for England’s pride;
By wind and screw they sallied forth.
Nine ships, and then this last she died,
And none will bear the name henceforth.
Three hundred years of “Terror”, proudly shown
Upon the prows of England’s ships.
As changing times throughout the East dethrone,
From Empire’s grasp a jewel slips.
A symbol of how transient the gains
Of crumbling queens and navies too.
This isle no more will hear foreign refrains
As sailors march in proud review.
For all must leave – to home and kin they must
Return, on ships of other names.
HMS Terror crumbles into dust;
The Lion at last, its prey it claims.