Marine Engineering Mechanic (Mechanical) 2
HMS Coventry

I Remember Stephen

By his friends

Memories of Stephen Tonkin

Twenty five years since I last saw you in person
I see you every day in my thoughts
Sometimes the memory makes me smile
Sometimes it makes me sad

My own milestones
And I think of what youíve missed
My marriage and my children made me think
Youíd have made a loving husband and a great dad
Your milestone birthdays pass by uncelebrated

Distant memories of our childhood together
Sometimes they seem so long ago
Sometimes they seem like yesterday

Your birthday, when your present was a dalek suit
I wasnít impressed, I was afraid of Doctor Who
I would hide behind the settee when it was on
And here at your party you were dressed up as my worst nightmare or so it seemed at the time
Little did I know that my worse nightmare would be losing you

Enjoying playing at doctors and nurses together
And not understanding why we were being told off
When your dad caught us
Me in labour
You delivering the doll stuffed up my jumper

Taking me to find the best conkers
Every Autumn I still think of you when I see conkers scattered on the ground
I like to hold them in my hand
Rub my thumb over the smooth shell and I miss you

You teaching me to swim
We spent hours in the local pool
Playing at underwater adventures
You were The Man from Atlantis
I was The Little Mermaid

I start Secondary School
Youíre in the year above
You look after me
You tease me in front of your mates but I donít mind, I love my big cousin
You make me laugh with your jokes about the school dinners

Discos at the Civic Centre
You dance like Michael Jackson
You dress like Michael Jackson
You have the white socks
You have the short trousers
You have the sleeves pushed up
And the white leather tie
You are so cool
You dance with your younger sister
Youíre both amazing
Living room furniture pushed back
Hours spent practising your moves

Youíre in the Royal Navy
Iím so proud of you
You look like a man in your uniform
But then itís the Falklands Conflict
Iím confused
Where is the Falklands?
Where is our Stephen going?
You send letters
Youíre scared
You write like a boy in your uniform

Youíre supposed to go on the HMS Sheffield
Youíre transferred to another ship
The HMS Sheffield is bombed and I am thankful
God is watching over you, it isnít your time to die
At work a man is listening to the news on the radio
The HMS Coventry has been hit he says matter of factly
There are sailors missing, presumed killed in action
Stephen Tonkin, God has decided that now it is your time!