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Bomber Command Poem


Bomber Command Poem

The nose section from Ex-RAAF Lancaster ‘Old Fred’ being discussed by modern suits at the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth. James Kightly.For me, the poem sums up some of the diversity of the contribution from within the UK and outside. Although titled ‘Lancasters’ it stands well, I think, for all of the Command and the crews of the less well remembered types. Found in Martin Bowman’s excellent ‘The Royal Air Force at War‘.

Lancasters
Where are the bombers, the Lancs on the runways,
Snub-nosed and roaring and black-faced and dour,
Full up with aircrew and window and ammo
And dirty great cookies to drop on the Ruhr?

Where are the pilots, the navs and air-gunners,
WOP’s and bomb-aimers and flight engineers,
Lads who were bank clerks and milkmen and teachers,
Carpenters, lawyers, and grocers and peers?

Geordies and Cockneys and Wiltshire moon-rakers,
Little dark men from the valleys of Wales,
Manxmen, Devonians, Midlanders, Scouses,
Jocks from the Highlands and Tykes from the Dales?

Where are the Aussies, the sports and the cobbers,
Talking of cricket and sheilas and grog,
Flying their Lanes over Hamburg and Stettin
And back to the Lincolnshire wintertime bog?

Where are the flyers from Canada’s prairies,
From cities and forests, determined to win,
Thumbing their noses at Goering’s Luftwaffe
And busily dropping their bombs on Berlin?

A reenactor in the RAF’s airworthy Lancaster PA474 seen in 2003 at the Royal International Air Tattoo. James Kightly.Where are the Poles with their gaiety and sadness,
All with the most unpronounceable names,
Silently, ruthlessly flying in vengeance,
Remembering their homes and their country in flames?
Where arc the Kiwis who left all the sunshine
For bleak windy airfields and fenland and dyke,
Playing wild Mess clinics like high cockalorum,
And knocking the Hell out of Hitler’s Third Reich?

Where are the Poles with their gaiety and sadness,
All with the most unpronounceable names,
Silently, ruthlessly flying in vengeance,
Remembering their homes and their country in flames?

Where arc the Kiwis who left all the sunshine
For bleak windy airfields and fenland and dyke,
Playing wild Mess clinics like high cockalorum,
And knocking the Hell out of Hitler’s Third Reich?

Where are they now, those young men of all nations,
Who flew though they knew not what might lie ahead,
And those who returned with their mission accomplished
And next night would beat up the Saracen’s Head?

The Lancs are no more, they are part of legend,
But memory stays bright in the hearts of the men
Who loved them and flew them through flak and through hellfire
And, managed to land them in England, again.

The men who were lucky to live to see victory,
The men who went home to their jobs and their wives,
The men who can tell their grandchildren with pride
Of the bomber which helped to save millions of lives.

Audrey Grealy

Lancaster G for George at the Australian War Memorial. James Kightly.

Audrey is the widow of an RAF pilot, and while the poem may not achieve greatness as a poem for some, the reason for its creation is more than good enough for me

About poetreecreations

I am an author writer publisher web administrator I run poetry workshops in the community. My published Manners childrens poetry book can be found at www.waterstones.com

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