Tribute to David Gill – Poet and Campaigner

Photo of David Gill

A poem by David Gill

WOULD I COULD

Would I could only live to see
where Trident submarines once lay
a peaceful loch where gulls alone
would ride the waves the wholesome day.

Would I could only live to know
that nuclear convoys sped no more
up and down my country’s roads
trafficking warheads past my door.

Would I could only see the day
men’s love of weaponry might cease
and nations load their hearts instead
with amity and trust and peace.

About David

David Gill was a poet, teacher and lifelong activist for peace and justice.

David was born on 3rd of July 1934 in Chislehurst, Kent. He was the son of Donald Gill, a bank clerk, and Marjorie (nee Paramor), a maths teacher.

His fearsome father instilled in David a lifelong hatred of bullying – he himself was a very gentle father.

David went to University College London, where he studied German and met Irene, a Jewish refugee from Germany and fellow student. They married in 1958.

His German skills led to a national service posting in Bavaria. After that, David trained as a teacher at Birmingham University and took a second degree in English by correspondence course from UCL.

His preoccupation with nuclear warfare began after reading the article Britain and the Nuclear Bombs in the New Statesman by J.B.Priestley in November 1957.

For many years David edited the newsletter of Oxford CND and his wife Irene was the secretary. He taught himself how to use the computer when that became relevant, which was a step-change from scissors and glue!

He and Irene joined the first Aldermaston March in Easter 1958. They took part in many CND activities, demonstrations and marches.

All of this had to change when David developed dementia some five years before his death in 2017.

But David’s dream of nations living together with ‘amity and trust and peace’ lives on in the hearts of many across the world.

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