Why Beth Molyneux's poem is in memory of her fallen father

After Beth lost her father, an officer in the Royal Navy, she wrote a poem to show why she wore a poppy.

Beth's father, Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, was shot on board the submarine HMS Astute as it was docked in Southampton in April 2011. His killer was a fellow seaman who opened fire below decks: Lieutenant Commander Molyneux was killed as he ran towards the shooter, trying to save lives. 

Beth had only just started primary school at the time.

In memory of her father

Beth was inspired to write the poem Why do you wear a poppy Beth? after a friend asked her about the poppy she was wearing. The poem has touched a chord with the public and Beth has read it out to a variety of audiences.

She's recited it at the National Memorial Arboretum in front of the Armed Forces memorial, where her father's name is engraved, and she's read it in front of HM The Queen during the Festival of Remembrance.

Beth reads her poem at the Festival of Remembrance

Beth was accompanied by her two elder brothers, and all three are following in their father's footsteps. Beth's two elder brothers are serving in the Royal Navy, and Beth is a Sea Cadet.

Why Do You Wear a Poppy Beth?

“Why do you wear a Poppy Beth?” my friend asked,
“I’d like to know...
You are too young to remember, the wars from long ago!”

I smiled the biggest smile,
As big, as big can be,
To show just what my poppy,
Really means to me.

As I began to tell her,
I stood all nice and tall,
And remembered what my Daddy said,
When I was very small.

You see, my Daddy was a sailor,
He sailed beneath the sea,
And when he was on his submarine,
He was as happy as can be.

My Daddy used to tell me,
“Bethie...wear your Poppy with PRIDE,
It’s to send love to our force
And remember those that died.

When people see your poppy Beth,
They’ll see how proud you are,
To remember all those fighting,
For our country, near and far”.

I am only 10-years-old,
But it’s so important that I know,
They were fighting for our freedom,
In the wars so long ago.

It is because of their sacrifice,
That we are free, you see,
To proudly fly our Union flag,
For all the world to see.

And it’s because of those still fighting,
In wars across the world,
That I can sleep safely in my bed,
Free from any cares.

Lots of those out fighting,
To keep our country free,
Are brave Mummies and Daddies,
Of children, just like me.

It’s why it’s so important,
Whilst they are fighting hard,
To look after all the children,
And keep them safe from harm.

Because, these children are the future,
Of the country in which we live,
The very country our armed forces.
Are fighting to protect.

There’s another special reason,
That I wear my Poppy with pride,
It’s because my Daddy, my hero,
Bravely gave his life.

He wasn’t away in a foreign land,
He was on his submarine,
Protecting the boat and her crew,
In the name of Her Majesty the Queen.

Now my Daddy is an angel,
In heaven up above,
With all the others that have died,
For the country that they love.

So when I wear my poppy,
So proudly on my chest,
It’s there to show our forces
Really are the best.

It’s to remember all those people,
Who gave their lives for our today,
And for my brave Daddy, my hero,
Who in my heart will always stay.

My friend listened to my story,
And then quietly said,
“I’d like to get a Poppy,
To pin onto my chest.

So I too can wear it proudly,
For all the world to see,
So I too will always remember,
The reason I am free!”

Beth was the citation reader at the 2016 Festival of Remembrance, where she read this poem in honour of her father.

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