The introductory poem read by Tom Courtenay is 'Here Dead We Lie' by 'A. E. Housman' Here dead we lie Because we did not choose To live and shame the land From which we sprung. Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young.
The poem - "There's a porpoise close behind me and he's treading on my tail" - that Dirk Bogarde quotes is from 'The Lobster Quadrille' by Lewis Carroll. The Colonel replies with the opening lines of the poem 'Biography' by John Masefield.