Belfast, 1942Posted: November 11, 2011
“Mrs. Thompson, I’ll take your Aileen to The Camp,
and she’ll play for the P.O.W.s.
Are you agreeable to it?”
“Aye, Mr. Nutt – she can play, so take her.”
And the Rev. James Nutt took 11-year-old Aileen
to The Camp – in his little Austin car.
At the barb-wire gate British soldiers let the minister pass
– and the child.
Inside the Nissen hut was a large platform and
an upright piano upon it.
Those foreign fellows had bombed
– blitzed – Belfast
they were now the luckiest of boys
– would have God’s grace in this far-off place.
And the child knew every chord progression for Luther’s hymn:
A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
And the young German prisoners sang strong in their
own tongue: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.
After she’d played the hymns Aileen was
borne aloft the shoulders of a Tommy and
off they were to the NAAFI canteen where she got a
Rock Bun and a beaker of cocoa – her first time of
And, tasting that flavour, she thought to herself:
Those wee Germans know all our same hymns !