collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I
If you are a former Prisoner of War or a next of
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Poetry and Quotes from the
diaries of World War II Prisoners
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God
This poem was found in many of the Kriegies' YMCA issued diaries.
Written by John G. Magee on September 3, 1941. Magee was born in Shanghai,
China, of missionary parents-an American father and an English mother, and spoke
Chinese before English. He was educated at Rugby school in England and at Avon
Old Farms School in Connecticut. He won a Scholarship to Yale, but instead
joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in late 1940, trained in Canada, and was
sent to Britain. He flew in a Spitfire squadron and was killed on a routine
training mission on December 11, 1941. The sonnet above was sent to his parents
written on the back of a letter which said, "I am enclosing a verse I wrote
the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I
landed." He also wrote of his course ending soon and of his then going on
operations, and added, "I think we are very lucky as we shall just be in
time for the autumn blitzes (which are certain to come)."
Magee's parents lived in Washington, D.C., at the time of
his death, and the sonnet came to the attention of the Librarian of Congress,
Archibald MacLeish. He acclaimed Magee the first poet of the War, and included
the poem in an exhibition of poems of "faith and freedom" at the
Library of Congress in February 1942. The poem was then widely reprinted, and
the RCAF distributed plaques with the words to all airfields and training
The reprintings vary in punctuation, capitalization, and
indentation from the original manuscript, which is in the Manuscript Division of
the Library of Congress. Some portions are faded and difficult to read, but the
version above follows Magee's as exactly as can be made out, following his penciled
note on another poem, "if anyone should want this please see that
it is accurately copied, capitalized, and punctuated." Nearly all versions
use "...even eagle," but careful scrutiny show that it was
"ever", formed exactly like the preceding "never."
President Ronald Reagan quoted from the first and last
lines in a televised address to the nation after the space shuttle Challenger
exploded, January 28, 1986.
by S/Sgt. Edward A. Greenlaw of
Tacoma, Washington - North 1 Compound
There's a mission today - you're scheduled to fly. So you wait by the ship and look at the sky.
It's cloudy up there and the wind starts to blow. But the mission ain't scrubbed - get in and go.
Your nerves are on edge, you cuss and you sweat,
if this damned ship flies you lose your bet. But the ship takes off and you settle down
and cast a longing glance at that lovely ground.
The ship will fly while the engines run
so you take your post at your trusty gun and check to see if it's working right.
If the round ain't short nor the head space tight.
You check your chute and try your phone It doesn't work and you have a groan You struggle and test with the blasted thing And it's finally fixed for you hear it sing
You call the pilot and tell him you're set And the radioman breaks in on the net. The rest of the crew all check in turn Except the nose, they'll never learn.
You've joined your squadron and joined your group
the vapor trails are as thick as soup. Your breath comes short and you check your hose
and cuss like hell cause the damn thing's froze.
You clear the ice and you breathe again
It's the life for birds - but not for man. Your face is cold and your masks too tight
so you pull it off and fix it right.
You're climbing fast as you look behind To see if the Squadron's all in line. Formation looks good and is staying tight So you figure everything's going all right.
The hours pass slow till you're nearly there Your eyes smart and burn from the ceaseless glare Of a sun that's cold as a chunk of ice For the temperature is far from nice.
You've never seen it so damned cold.
It tightens you up with a square hold. Your fingers freeze to the grips of your guns.
You wonder who said that flying is fun.
But you stick it out and stay at your
post If you leave your gun the reports read "lost" If heaven's this cold you'd choose to dwell In the hottest furnace they've got in H*ll.
The pilot call that your getting close Re-check your guns and oxygen hose. You pull your helmet and flak suit tight And pray to God that all goes right.
Navigator calls you're on the I.P. But your eyes are froze and cannot see. So you pull out the ice and frozen lash And you see a fighter come in like a flash.
You grab your gun and fire a burst The b*stard's gone down but he's raised a thirst That burns in your throat and your mouth goes dry As you spot another way off in the sky.
You line him up in the ring of your sight And get all set for a d*mn good fight. He's coming in and doesn't stop. Till you hear the upper start to pop.
Then there's a puff and a burst of flame And you add that fighter to your engineer's claim. Now your rid of two but you call in more You cuss and pray that their aim is poor.
It makes you mad and you feel mean But you think of home and places you've been. It's just a thought and it passes fast And you fire like H*ll as a Jerry dives past.
You never know if you knocked him down No time to watch him, keep looking around. They're swarming now like angry bees A "twenty" come through and you feel its breeze.
They make their attacks in a steady pass And you're willing to bet they've got your *ss But you track 'em in and get their range You're enjoying yourself 'tho that sounds strange.
It's fifty below but your wringing wet And your forehead's covered with frozen sweat. With a final pass the Jerries drop back. Then you know d*mn well you're heading for flak.
It's coming up now and bursting fast And coming so close you feel its blast. So you make yourself small and try to pray And hope that this is your lucky day.
Your bombardier calls, you're on the run You wait to hear that the job is done. The "bombs away" comes over the wire But you're watching a ship go down on fire.
The stuff is still bursting thick and black And
you cuss the guy that invented flak. It pounds on the ship like an angry surf.
You're scared to h*ll, but you keep you're nerve.
You're skipper is wise, he's dodging the stuff
But there in the tail the riding is rough. The ship is hit cause you feel the lurch.
Your guns swing free as you lose your perch.
You feel her lurch and start to drop
over the 'phone comes "feather the prop!" Smoke streams back from Number Two
But your pilot is quick and pulls her through.
Now she's under control and flying level That skipper of yours is a cool headed devil. You're out of the flak and the ship still flies And you look behind at the smoky skies.
The group behind is in flak now And catching H*ll from stern to bow. You watch two ships go falling down They both blow up when they hit the ground.
But you're feeling good 'cause you've got your hide You've beat the flak, no fighters in sight. There's still three engines running good You're heading for home and think of food.
The pilot calls at twelve thousand feet Pull off your mask and turn down the heat. You strike a match and light a fag Inhale deep that first sweet drag.
Soon you're over the field and circling round Then into the pattern and on the ground. Then take her up to the parking place You've made it again with the good Lord's grace.
Clear your gun and raise up its cover Then scramble out to look her over. The ground crews there with a silly grin They ask "Where in H*ll have you been?"
She's full of holes from nose to tail But she went and came and didn't fail. Just above where your head has been You could drive a truck thru the vertical fin.
But it's time to brief so you grab a truck And you realize you've had good luck. Talk the mission over on the trip to group Where S-2 briefs and gets your "poop".
Your job is done so down to the tent Then head for chow like a man h*ll bent. Those empty seats sort of spoil the meal You've lost some pals, but it doesn't seem real.
You wait a while and watch the door But they don't come back like they've done before. So you try to forget it and think of tomorrow You've paid for the flight but not the sorrow.
It's cloudy tonight and looks like rain But the bulletin board reads "OP" again. The target tomorrow? It's hard to say Sweat it out again in the usual way.
This story goes on, it has no end You lose a ship and you lose a friend. Maybe some day you won't come back And they'll chalk you up to 'fighters and flak'.
It's a hell of a life and you feel the strain But you'd do the whole thing over again. Still you pray for the day when there'll be no war So you can see what in h*ll you've been fighting for.
You're doing your job. You're winning the fight Doing your best to make things right. Just hope you'll live thru it and someday see That "lasting peace in a world that's free"
Can You Take It?
by Anonymous - this poem was
found on the wall of a solitary confinement cell at Dulag Luft, the German
interrogation center where all POWs shot down were taken to be
It's easy to be nice, boys
When everything's O.K.
It's easy to be cheerful,
When your having things your way.
But can you hold your head up
And take it on the chin.
When your heart is breaking
And you feel like giving in?
It was easy back in England,
Among the friends and folks.
But now you miss the friendly hand,
The joys, and songs, and jokes.
The road ahead is stormy.
And unless you're strong in mind,
You'll find it isn't long before
You're dragging far behind.
You've got to climb the hill, boys;
It's no use turning back.
There's only one way home, boys,
And it's off the beaten track.
Remember you're American,
And when you reach the crest,
You'll see a valley cool and green,
Our country at its best.
You know there is a saying
That sunshine follows rain,
And sure enough you'll realize
That joy will follow pain.
Let courage be your password,
Make fortitude your guide;
And then instead of grousing,
Just remember those who died.
You can always tell a Gunner by his greasy hands and vacant stare - and You can always tell a Bombardier by his manners debonair - and You can always tell a Navigator by his pencils books and such - and You can always tell a Pilot - but you can never tell him much.
They shall not grow old, As we that are
left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, And in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest We Forget.
An Escort of P-38's
- by: Tech. Sgt. Robert
H. Bryson (KIA on a mission to Messina) (The line re being rejected apparently referred to his draft board.)
Oh, Hedy Lamarr is a beautiful gal and Madeleine Carroll is too;
But you'll find, if you query, a different theory
amongst any bomber crew.
For the loveliest thing of which one could sing
(this side of the Heavenly gates)
Is no blonde or brunette of the Hollywood set,
escort of P-38s
Yes, in the days that have passed when the tables
were masses of glasses of Scotch or champagne,
It's quite true the sight was a thing to delight us,
intent on feeling no pain.
But no longer the same, nowadays in this game, when
we head north from Messina Straits
Take the sparkling wine........and every time just
Byron, Shelley and Keats ran a dozen dead heats
describing the view from the hills
Of the valleys in May when the winds gently sway an
army of bright daffodils.
Take the daffodils, Byron; the wild flowers,
Shelley; yours is the myrtle, friend Keats.
Just reserve me those cuties, American
Sure we're braver than hell; on the ground all is
swell. In the air it's a different story.
We sweat out our track through the fighters and flak
- we're will to split up the glory.
Well, they wouldn't reject us so Heaven protect us
and until this shooting abates
Give us the courage to fight 'em...and one other
As Flak Goes By -Author unknown
You must remember this That flak don't always miss And one of you may die. The fundamental thing applies As flak goes by---
And When the fighters come You hope you're not the one To tumble from the sky The odds are always too damned high As flak goes by---
110's and 210's knocking at your gate Come on you jokers, come on kill that rate And should a bomb hang, salvo don't wait The targets passing by---
It's still the same old story A tale that's too damned gory Some brave men have to die The odds are always high As flak goes by.
You'll Never Mind
- Author unknown
Come on and join the Air Corps It's a grand branch so they say You never do no work at all Just fly around all day---
While others work and study hard And so grow old and blind You take
to the air without a care And never never mind. (chorus)
You'll never mind, you'll never mind Come on and join the Air Corps And you will never mind---
We are a bunch of heathen We do not give a snap For the groundlings point of view And all that sort of crap We want about 10,000 ships Of every other kind And then of course our own Air Force And we will never mind. (chorus)
Come on and get promoted
As high as you desire Your riding on a gravy train When you're an Army flier. And just when you're about to be A general you will find Your ship blows up the wings fall off But you will never mind (chorus)
AHandsome Young Airman
Oh, a handsome young airman lay dying Surrounded by wreckage he lay And the mechanics who stood all around him Swear these are the words he did say, did say.
I never should have joined the Air Corps Mother, dear Mother knew best For now I lay here in the wreckage Pratt Whitney all over my chest, my chest.
From the small of my back take the crankshaft The piston rods out of my brain The cylinders out of my kidneys And assemble the plane again, again
When the Board of Inquire assemble Tell them the reason I died Was a very flat spin that resembled The maximum angle of glide.
Here's to the land that bore me Here's to the land that I love, To fight for death and glory And to die in the sky's above.
Stand by your glasses ready For this is a world full of vice Drink to the dead already And here's to the next one that dies.
I never should have joined the Air Corps Mother, dear Mother knew best For now I lay here in the wreckage Pratt Whitney all over my chest, my chest.
A similar version
Why did I join the Air
Mother, dear Mother, knew best.
Here I lie 'neath the wreckage,
A Fortress all over my chest.
If you ever lose an engine,
And you don't know which way to turn,
Just reach right up on the dashboard,
Push the button marked spin, crash and burn!
The Fort is a very fine
Constructed of rivets and tin,
With a top speed of over 100,
The ship with a headwind built in.
If you ever run into ack-ack,
Or a Messerschmidt makes a good pass,
Just pick up your chute and start walking;
To hell with the crew, let 'em crash.
Why did I join the Air
Mother, dear Mother, knew best.
Here I lie 'neath the wreckage,
A Fortress all over my chest.
A German Waterfall - Author
Beside a German waterfall On a very bright summer day Beside a shattered airplane a navigator lay. His pilot hung from a coconut tree He was not yet quite dead So listen to the very last words the navigator said.
We're going to a better land Where everything's all right Where whiskey flows from telephone poles Play poker every night We'll never have to work again Just sit around and listen We'll have beaucoup wild women Oh death where is thy sting.
Thanks for the Memory
- Author unknown
the memories, of flights to Germany Across the Northern Sea, with blazing guns
We fought the Hun, for air supremacy. How lucky we were!
Thanks for the memories, of Me-109's
And Flak guns on the Rhine They did their bit and we were hit
So ended our good times...we miss them so much!
We drifted far out of formation
We jumped-and what a sensation And now we sweat out the duration
Our job is done, we had our fun.
So thanks for the memory
Of days we had to stay, at Stalag Luft 1A The cabbage stew which had to do
Till Red Cross Parcels came How thankful we were.
So thanks for the memory
When "D" Day came along We changed our marching song
From "Forever and a Day" to "War ain't Here to Stay"
We thank God for that!
Title and Author
It was late in the evening The guests were all leaving O'Riley was closing the bar, When he spotted this woman This Red headed woman. Get out, you can't stay where you are She shed a big tear in her bucket of beer As she thought of the cold night ahead. When out of the crapper Stopped a gentleman dapper And these are the words that he said--
Her mother never told her The things a good girl should know. The ways of means of Air Corps men And how they come and go. Now age has stolen beauty And time has left its scar. So think of your mother and sister boys, And let her sleep under the bar.
Roll Call Thoughts
This poem was found in the photo album of a Stalag Luft I
Heinrich Haslob known as "Henry, the butcher"
to the POWs. Henry had lived in New York prior to the war and had worked
as a butcher.
The author is unknown.
We've stood in the rain,
the snow and the sleet,
We've stood there for hours with nothing to eat
And why have we stood there, so "Browned off" and mad?
Because Unterofficer Noyes just couldn't add.
We've dug nice long tunnels through miles of sand.
Made fancy clothes and hid in tin cans.
But why have we failed to leave "Kriegie" Land?
Because Henry the "Butcher Boy" is always on hand.
We don't like this camp, so windy, so bleak,
And the barking of watch-dogs that bother our sleep.
Oh, Major Von Muller please give us a break;
Just call of your Blood-hounds and let us escape!
A Gunner's Day
- Author unknown
A gunner's day is never done,
Up at dawn before the sun.
With the roar of engines in his head, Wishing he could have stayed in bed.
Chow at four, fried eggs and such, Won't have time to eat too much. Briefing at five, the crew is all there, And ever anxious to be up in the air.
See to your chute, ammunition and guns, For the boys all know its not for fun. Jerry will be there high up in the blue,
Waiting for someone, perhaps for you.
Take off at six or maybe at six-thirty, Hope no one has a gun that is dirty. Form with the group at 12,000 feet, See the formation, they really look neat.
Put on your mask the air is getting thin, Off to battle, some with a grin. Were over the water, now test your guns, Enemy coast, here comes the fun.
Flak at six and flak at twelve, Look out! you hear the bombardier yell. Here come Fighters, coming in low Maybe they're ours, don't shoot till you know.
P-58's and P-38's Our escort is here, they're never late. They're fighting fools, each man and his ship. There is never a Jerry they couldn't whip.
The air is cold just fifty below, Turn up the heat so you don't freeze a toe. A sharp lookout boys, the target is near We don't care to meet the enemy here.
There is the target, plenty of flak, Bombs Away! Boys now we turn back. Coming out of the sun, there are enemy ships, Aim true boys, we've still got more trips.
There goes one down, another one too. Our Fighters are busy to see none get through. There one flames in the sky, as another goes down The pilot bails out, he makes it safe to the ground.
Then in our tail our guns start to roar, There's blood on your guns, you shoot as before. Your ship is hit but still flies through the air, You think of your loved ones and whisper a prayer.
Smoke from the target leaps high in the sky, We'll show the damn Jerries we know how to fly, The Fighters have left us, the few that are left Our Fighters got some, we got the rest.
We've been up six hour, two hours to go Though were doing 200, it seems very slow. England at last, the tail gunners learn We think of our buddies who will not return.
We're over the field the crew gives a sigh We have finished another to do or to die. Wheels touched the ground with a screech and a bump, Our ship brought us back over the hump.
We're tired, dirty, thirsty and sore, The sun has gone down an hour before. First clean your guns, do it good boys For that gun's life is mine or yours.
A sandwich and coffee, your chute you turn in, Down to the briefing room, turn in your gun. Two meals, both in the darkness of night, Get on your nerves, but you're still ready to fight.
The mess hall is warm in the cold of night, You sit down to eat, talk between bites. You talk of Fighters, theirs and ours, too And of the boys that didn't get through.
Of ships going down exploding in air, The bullets that missed your head by a hair. Your ship full of holes, guess Joe is in bed, He has a flak fragment lodged in his head.
Then head for your sack at nine or ten. A letter from home, another from her. I love you she wrote, then you know you've won, A gunners day is never done.
FOR YOU DER VAR IST OVER -
When your bombs are gone And the course your on Promises a view of Dover You'll get a surprise When you realize "For You Der Var ist Over"
When you chute slaps your back With a jerk and a smack As you light on the verdant clover You feel with dismay That starting this day "For You Der Var ist Over"
As you march thru town With an uneasy frown Cause the guard has folks in Hanover You get the idea That in this area "For You Der Var Ist Over"
When the harmless Flak Breaks your "Libs" back No longer a skyward rover And your hearing them say In their guttural way "For You Der Var ist Over"
Then when your a Kriegie And no longer free When you would like to be a rover You look for the date When they will open the gate And the damn Var ist Really Over.
A poem by 2nd Lt. Meredith D Fink
Shot down over Austria, Nov.2, 1943 "Lady Be Good" B-17
Stalag Luft 1 (North compound), from Nov. '43 till May, 1945
We are the men who no longer fly
Mid the threat of fire and flak
We are the one's who are forced to stand by
To the fight we can never go back
Our small domain is encircled by wire
Not even the ground can we roam
To wait quietly by the war does require;
Please God-Why can't we go home?
On days when the weather is very clear
And we gaze into the sky
Sometimes we can see what our captors fear!
Our own planes flying by!
Then we on the ground see the scorching flak,
So send up a silent prayer
To ask him to guide them safely back
Our classmates in the air
They are the brave boys we flew with
Some of whom have yet to die,
Others will come here to join us,
While the rest continue to fly
Some day when the war is over,
And we hear the battle is won
Let's hope that he'll have a record
Of the various deeds we've done
They say he died in glory,
What ever that may be.
If its dying in a burst of flame,
Then glory's not for me.
In the briefing room this morning,
He sat with clear eyes and strong heart,
Just one of many airman
Determined to do his part.
My buddy had the guts alright,
He sought not glory nor fame.
He knew there was a job to do,
My crew all felt the same.
But death had the final word,
In its log it wrote his name.
For my buddy died this afternoon
In glory - in a burst of flame.
(Dedicated to Mike Shanley who gave his life ditching on his 6th mission)
KRIEGIE THOUGHTS - Author
Barbed Wire! Barbed Wire! Barbed Wire! To the North, South, West and East Will it always hold me captive Without hope or joy or peace
Must I ever curve this eager flame That burns within my chest Or know once more the joy of home With pleasant hours of rest
Such questions to my mind do crowd When deep in thought I sit But ever with it comes the cry It won't be long, don't quit
And so it goes from day to day A never changing scene But someday soon I will leave it all As though it were a dream.
A DREAM -
Last night I held a lovely hand A hand so soft and neat I thought my heart would burst with joy So wildly did it beat No other hand unto my heart Could greater solace bring Than that dear hand I held last night Four Aces and a King.
ONE HAS GONE
We drink to him as comrade must But it is still the same old story A coward goes from dust to dust A gunner from dust to glory.
The following poems
reflect the effect
starvation had on the prisoners. Virtually every waking minute was spent
obsessing on food.
The Kriegie Pledge
I think that I shall never see
A meal that won't appeal to me!
Admitted that in days gone by
I've left a crumb of apple pie
Or a tiny scrap of meat
On my plate I didn't eat!
But now it is my firm resolve
To make all food that's near dissolve
That any dumb and wasteful fool
Might leave around to make me drool!
And I'll never hesitate
To clean the scraps all off my plate!
Meals are missed by fools like me,
But never again - I guarantee!
Lt. Larry Phelan, Stalag Luft III, dedicated to his wife:
dream as only captive men can dream
Of life as lived in days that went before;
Of scrambled eggs, and shortcakes thick with cream;
And onion soup and lobster Thermidor;
Of roast beef and chops and T-bone steaks,
And turkey breast and golden leg or wing'
Of sausage, maple syrup, buckwheat cakes,
And chicken broiled or fried or a la king.
I dwell on rolls and buns for days and days,
Hot corn bread, biscuits, Philadelphia scrapple,
Asparagus in cream or hollandaise,
And deep-dish pies - mince, huckleberry, apple.
I long for buttered creamy oyster stew,
And now and then, my pet, I long for you.
KRIEGSGAFANGEN KELLY -
Kelly get your barracks bag,
The shipping list is here.
We're sailing on the first tide,
For home of yesteryear.
But Kelly strained no muscle
To join the homing flocks.
He was packed before a tiny stove,
Beside a Red Cross Box.
Kelly, we are sailing
The bitter war is done.
We are off to the USA
To sweethearts and to fun.
But Kelly turned a deaf ear
His stubbornness he kept.
" I should sail for anywhere"
"With all these groceries left".
It's a sad sad tale they tell these days
Along the bowery streets.
Of Kriegsgafangen Kelly
And his parcel full of meats.
Some men love adventure
And some love curly locks,
But Kriegsgafangen Kelly
Loved his faithful Red Cross Box
Kriegie Sonnet -
Chocolate candy, ice cream cake.
Soda sundaes and milk shakes,
Rare beef roast, Boston baked beans,
White bread toast, fresh garden greens.
Red ripe tomatoes, shrimp salad and steak,
French fried potatoes, Cape Cod clam bake,
Chicken and dumplings, hot dogs long,
Hamburgers with onions, coffee strong,
Spaghetti ravioli, Parker hose rolls,
Cold Coca-cola, sweet donuts with holes,
Oyster stew and chicken chop suey,
Candid yams in sauce all gooey,
Corn on the cob, turkey and dressing,
You've finished the job and brother,
Blues - Author Unknown
They said when we left Dulag
Barth is real refinement.
But when we reached Stalag One
They gave me solitary confinement.
They parked us on the Baltic Sea
In Barracks cold and drafty.
The coal ration is "kapoot"
And the wire drives us daffy.
We're mighty close to Sweden,
The land of ice and snow.
But when I see the barbed wire fence,
I know that I can't go.
I'd like to leave my kriegie pals,
This place really stinks.
But those who try to take a stroll,
Are sure to get the "klink".
We're always digging tunnels,
To pass the time away.
But a jerk we call a ferret,
Caves them in most every day.
The Jerry bread is awful,
The turnips are still worse.
The barley is full of worms,
And it makes us all curse.
At roll call every morning,
Block six is always late.
For the kriegies lay in bed at night,
And have a big debate.
The hauptman tries to tally us,
While the colonel take P.T.
The way the Jerry's miscount us,
Sure seems funny to me.
I take my vitamins each morning
And then I eat my stew.
It sure broke down my resistance,
And now I have the flu.
We have the Jerries running now
On the land and on the sea.
And I sure hope ole Ike or Joe,
Will come and rescue me.
And the story
At one time there dwelleth
in the land of the Romans a group of strange men who flitted here and
there in the sky and maketh like the birds. For such was their
business to bring succor and protection to their brethren who lumbereth
about on more unwieldy wings and they were called birdmen.
And one morning as the sun first shineth on
the hut of the sleeping birdmen, the CQ entereth therein and he sayeth.
"Arise for the time of briefing is at hand." And he hastily departed for
he was wise in the ways of the birdmen and with much cursing and murmuring
they arose and appeased their tender bellies on fish heads and rice.
For alas, such was the manner of their quartermaster who walked about on
Wherefore the birdmen windeth their way to the
briefing hut wherein they beheld strong markings on the wall. Many
were the red spots on the plan of the enemy's stronghold. And their gaze
fell upon the handwriting on the wall for such it was and they sayeth one
to another, "No, this cannot be." And there was much weeping and
gnashing of teeth and the sound of murmuring suddently ceased as the "Great
White Owl" entereth the room and he spoke to them saying. "Yea,
verily wing upon wing of our big friends must go forth this day and
assaileth the enemy and let us not laggeth behind for he who stayeth is
lost." And there was one among them who was called S-2 who claimeth
to know the way of the enemy but he knoweth not and he goeth not. And he
spoke to them in riddles and they believeth him not but they sayeth one to
another, "Wherefore he speaketh this for he knoweth not the odds by which
we reapeth in the end" and still another spoke to them of the winds and
clouds but he confuseth them and they believeth him not.
And they leaveth the briefing room some
entereth the little house in great haste and others entereth the bigger
house in greater haste. This they departed of their winged steeds
wherein they entangled each of them with boots and straps. After a
confusing manner and each was known to the other by various colors and
numbers that they may know their place. And in the manner each after
the other breaketh the bonds of the earth and one among them runneth fast
but lifteth not, for the R.P.M. runneth away and the others wondereth of
his good fortune and still another returneth for his temperature riseth
but he waxeth cold.
And as they cometh to the appointed place
their big friends are gone before them and the birdmen are troubled, for
lo their fuel dribbleth fast and as they draw nigh to the target they
beheld many and numerous flashes amongst them. And they weaveth and
swoopeth to escape the flak for such it was called. And "Red One" called
the "Great White Owl" and sayeth "Whether shall we turn. Canst thou not
lead us out?" and the "Great White Owl" sayeth, "Oh, ye of little faith
why dost thou murmur against me?" And at this time great multitudes
of the enemy birdmen descended on the big friends and the forts were
clobbered for such was the custom in those days. And they calleth
forth the little birdmen to come forth and give them succor and they all
came forth except one who came fifth he speaketh of having a Focke-Wolfe
on his tail. Whereupon each of the birdmen turneth this way and that
way and were lost one unto the others and great confusion reigneth and
"Red One" calleth the "Red Two" saying "Where are thou?" and "Red Two"
answereth saying "Lo and behold, I spinneth out and am lost onto thee."
Then they say one to the other "Hitteth the silk!" and the parasols
fluttered earthward. Thus they came to Kriegieland.
THE GODS FALL DOWN -
by Ralph Parker
When Zeus did quaff his nectar
And brave Mars, his portion too
This ancient world had never heard
Of prune and raisin brew
The heavens then were peaceful
When the Gods sat down to dine
Honey-mead was drink enough
None thought of prune-juice wine
Apollo coaxed his lyre --
Playing soft celestial tunes
Godly company waxed gay enough
Without distilling prunes
But soon a stated weary Zeus
Looked down on earthly peril
And marveled at downed airmen
Sipping thunder from a barrel
His eyes stood wide in wonderment
"These must be fighting demons
Who fill the air with battle cries
And scorn delirium tremens"
"Ho, Mercury, with winged feet,
Fly swiftly down to earth.
Seize me a cup of their strange mesh,
I feign would judge its worth"
Thus bid, the faithful messenger
Sped down to do his task.
Unseen by joyous revelers
He filled a golden flask.
He bore it swiftly to the sky
Unto his master's feet.
Impatient Zeus, drank deeply
Of this errant earthly treat
Zeus' throat belched flame and ashes
Lightning played around his throne
And the heavens split asunder
With his piteous, piercing groan
Olympus Mount swayed crazily
Consumed by liquid fire
Gods toppled from their glory
Into Hades' stygian mire
"Oh why, Zeus your visit?
To this dirth domain of horrors"
Quoth Charen, master of the river Styx
On Hades' stygian shores
"Taunt me not" Zeus sadly answered,
"For I did not crave a boon
I sought to sip the wonders
Of a foul fermented prune"
"Bring me balm to sooth my temple
Which is throbbing near to burst.
Ne'er again will I petition prunes
To quench my foolish thirst"
"Those mortals have the best of us
Tho' they are mad as loons --
To make their mead of thunder claps
Distilled from rancid prunes"
For Ever More By Fran Chumley - 1944 - Wife of
Stalag Luft I POWPerk Chumley
I rushed home
from work with an eager heart
To find a V-Mail waiting.
It had the news of places he had been
And not a word of hating.
He had a war he was helping to win
And doing a good job too.
If only they'd given him half a chance
To show what he could do.
He told what he
could of his missions,
And told of all the thrills
I should have enjoyed this with him,
But it sort of gave me chills.
One day the letters stopped coming
And I didn't know what to do
It wasn't like him to stop writing,
And then I sort of knew.
I thought back
over our eight happy months
Of arguments, laughter and tears,
Eight happy months I would never trade
For any amount of years.
I didn't dare think, yet I had all the faith
I knew he wasn't dead,
Then the long waited message arrived one day
"MISSING IN ACTION" IT SAID.
Missing in action
was a terrible blow,
I didn't know what to do.
Yes, I cried and cried some more
But still I sort of knew.
I settled myself to just sit and wait
For the news that was yet to come.
My news I thought was pretty bad,
But not as bad as some.
After waiting for
two long unhappy months,
The message arrived one day.
It was the news I had been praying for
So I was Happy and gay.
"In Germany", the message read
"Your husband's a prisoner of war".
To me that's music to my ears,
He is mine for ever more.
Perk and Fran celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2003.
NEW KRIEGIES - Author
Unknown - probably John R. Johnson
“Kriegies Up!” and everyone ran
To see new “Kriegies” invade “Kriegieland”
“Who won the Series? Who’s President now?
What target was it? When, Where and How?”
“Water,” they cried, “We’re dying of thirst,
We’re starving to death and that’s not the worst.
Where’s Joe and Patton, and our fighting men?
You’ve been down four weeks! Where have you been?”
“Is anyone there from the 398th?
Is your crew alive? What was their fate?
What do you fly? What’s the newspapers say?
Think we’ll be home by New Years Day?”
Soon we were settled in Kriegie routine
Spam, corned beef, potatoes and klim
Rutabagas, cabbage, callorobies and stew
How many we were! How little we knew.
SKIES ABOVE - Author
Unknown - probably John R. Johnson
Day in, day out, that same routine
We dream of home, of those we love
We dream of food, of drink and song
We dream of flights in skies above.
Someday, someday, we will return
To all those things we’re dreaming of
To all those things so dear to us
And frequent flights in skies above.
Day in, Day out that same routine
A man’s dreams and tho’ts of love
There’ll be no flak or fighters up
When we fly again in skies above.
FIGHTING 303rd - Author
Silence you barbed wire Yankees
And I’ll try and tell you how
The 303rd out of England
Made good a solemn vow.
It seems the bombs of previous raids
Including some pretty tough flights
Had not always been on target
Tho the outfit always showed fight.
The brass hats sitting in London town
Decided that we could do better
They told our Colonel as much
By way of a red hot letter.
The Colonel showed the letter to us
And spoke with hands on his hips,
“We’ll get our bombs on the target today,
Now run and climb into your ships.”
We soared to the West
At the break of dawn
A group of Forts on their way
To a target in France, away beyond Nance
T’was an airport at Cognac that day.
For hours we flew and everyone knew
As we thundered on in formation
Our Colonel was right, t’would be a tough fight
And we all felt that winnie sensation.
Down through the Bay of Biscay we soared
Turned in toward land at Bordeaux
Then thru the din of the engines roar
Heard “Fighters at 6 o’clock low”.
We beat them off, but not without loss
Don’t ever sell Jerry short
The Forts that caught Hell, that New Year’s Eve
Were the ones that tried to abort.
Then thru the smoke and a wall of flak
The target at last was seen
And one of the reasons we didn’t get back
Was due to that “Flacky” black screen.
Down thru the valley of Hell we rode
Each man with a prayer on his lips
Each pilot fighting to hold his place
In that fighting flight of ships.
Our 3 leading ships, all mortally hit
And trailing red blazes of flame
Flew onward in perfect formation
The air corps was out winning fame.
Our lead bombardier, was Waldo
A gutty guy from the South
And as 88’s burst all around him
A curse leapt from his mouth.
His sights on the target were perfect
And as blockbusters dropped from the racks
Tons of death fell, blowing the target to Hell
What had been hangars now looked like shacks.
We wheeled and headed toward England
Many hundred of miles away
Out of that Valley of Death we charged
On that eve before New Year’s Day.
The rest is a nightmare of fire and guns
But our boys were fighting mad
We knew that Jerry had paid the price
But by Jerry we had “been had”
Our friends in England await us
But their waiting they know is in vain
For the sun was deep in the West
And their hearts were heavy with pain.
Tis said not a ship returned that night
And you all know the reason why
Yes the 303rd out of England
Had fulfilled it's solemn vow.
P-4-7 - Author
Lt. E.C. Buckley
They told the kid, a ‘38’s the thing
It’s got two props and guns that sing.
It’s got plenty of range, and can carry a load
And it’s a friend to have on a combat road.
But, the kid looked up and said in revolt,
“You take your ‘38, I’ll take a ‘Thunderbolt’.”
Then they said, “The Spit’s mighty sweet
And for maneuverability it can’t be beat.
It met the Luftwaffe at its best
And records show it passed the test.”
But the kid just answered, with a smile and a shrug,
You take the Spit, I’ll take a ‘Jug'.”
Then they said, “Those two are pretty hot,
But they don’t have what a ‘51’s got.
It’s got the guns and it’s got the speed
And more damned gadgets than you ever need.”
The kid looked up and shook his head
“Keep them both, Mine’s a Jug instead.”
The kid spoke, “Your ‘38s sweet,
Your Spit’s pretty hot and the 51’s neat,
But, listen fellows, I’ll make a bet
Just fly those ships, they’ll kill you yet.
And when you’re up in “Pilot Heaven”
I’ll still be here in a P-4-7.”
A KRIEGIE'S THOUGHTS - Author
Unknown - probably John R. Johnson
If you feel like a martyr
And your flying days are thru,
Just buck up like you oughter
And gaze up in the blue.
For some day soon they’ll let us out
We’ll return to native shores,
And rend the air with mighty shouts
And vow to leave no more.
But after we’ve been home again
And seen our families all,
We’ll soon decide this ain’t our style
And answer the “Airman’s Call”
To Fighters, Forts, & Twenty-Fives
To Liberators strong.
And soon we’ll come to realize
The air’s where we belong.
So in spite of what you’re feeling
And despite the cares before,
Just make the sky your ceiling
When the Kriegies fly once more.
- Author - John R. Johnson C-47
You can talk about your Fort’s, Their Thunderbolt escorts, And of the peashooter’s deadly score But when it come to serving, the Transport is deserving A little praise and credit in this war.
The A-20 has it’s speed in dives, there’s precision
bombing in B-25’s The Marauder also has it’s share of fame, But when it comes to flying – admit there’s no denying The transport has its value in this game.
Yes, they’ll buzz those pearly gates, in their
Lockheed 38’s Thrilling the pretty angels with their stunts, St. Peter will come running, when he heard the motors humming And he’ll hang a welcome sign out front.
But when we get to Heaven, in our old C-47 And taxi up to crack the cargo door, The chariots will come dashing to take our load of rations Then send us through the skies for more.
Yes, we men get no rest, filling out our manifest We’ll fly twelve hours a day and then We’ll come home tired & gray, dodging mtns along the way Our welcome being, Well done my men.
Now we don’t hope to live forever, someday our life line will be severed We’ll sail away into the blue To join the lovely chorus, of those who’ve gone before us. To a promised berth upon his crew.
your far away from the one you love
and gaze at the heavens above,
Whether the time be the sun-scorched noon
frosty night with a glittering moon,
there up above in that realm of space
see not the sun or the moon, but a face
beautiful face with a tender smile
Which tells me she’s waiting to make life worthwhile.
Perhaps tonight from her windowpane
She’s gazing aloft, on her lips my name.
prays to God, way up above
watch o’er, keep safe, and return that love.
when you’re feeling alone and forlorn
Watch into the night and the wakening morn,
remember that westward across the blue
She’s watching and waiting, the same as you.
Little silk worm - so very small,
You saved me from an awful fall.
Tho you're such an ugly thing,
I owe my life to your man made wing.
It's In The Cards - a poem found in Leland Potter's POW journal
You may belong to many Clubs,
You may have a big Heart,
You may wear many Diamonds,
But it takes more than a Spade,
To dig out of a Kriegie camp.
I'm bailing out, I've had my share
Of all this thunderous flak filled
We've lost two engines - one and
Can't see no future here for me.
I hate to leave, but can't stay
With half our tail shot away,
Not to mention little things
Like gaping holes in both our wings.
Our fuel tanks are leaking fast,
And they say that #2 can't last.
What was that I heard them shout?
Number 4 is conking out?
Well bugger me, I see no reason
To stick around if it's 'open season'
On Forts like this, so here I go.
I'm bailing out - - Cheerio!
Breathes there the
man - - - -
Breathes there the man who claims he
Scared of fighters, or claims he
Feel cold tremors up his back
When face to face with bursting flak?
Or shows a grin and says that he
Doesn't care if the target is "Big
Oh yes, there are a few who state
They've had no fears up to date,
Fighters? Flak? And places they
Were briefed to fly over today?
Oh no, they have no fear of these
For they are gunners, if you please.
Bold and fearless, though these few
I hesitate to write their name
Upon this paper pure and clean.
So for you people that are green
Of all the dangers entailed in flying
These few men are strictly lying!
Oh, all you fallen fliers who’ve done battle in the
sky, You’ve seen your ships a burning and you’ve seen your buddies die. You’ve watched tracers spitting from a fighter’s wicked snoot, You’ve fumbled for a ripcord and felt the popping chute.
You’ve lost your friends and freedom, You’ve lost both limbs and blood, But through it all you’re a better man, With a stronger faith in God.
The Pilot and
the Bombardier - Author unknown
The pilot and the bombardier were walking round the
wire, A German search had turned them out into the mud and mire. It is a funny place to be, they said, for any Army flier If I could build a ship of klim and make the wings of spam I wouldn’t stay, the pilot said, in this place where I am I’ve got it, said the bombardier, we’ll make it run on jam.
We’d fly right home, they both agreed, and land at Selfridge Field, We’d eat a crate of strawberries that Rita Hayworth peeled. And drink so much, the pilot said, our blood would be congealed And then we’d hit a restaurant and order sirloin steak It would be even bigger than an ordinary lake With eggs on top, the pilot said, or else my heart would break.
Lots of beer, said the bombardier, or is that understood? And for dessert I wonder what would be surpassing good Ice cream, of course, pistachio, in portions like Mount Hood. And when we’ve eaten all we can we’ll tour the smart night spots We’ll invite the girls we’d like to make in twenty dozen lots And drink the scotch we’d like to drink in straight quadruple shots.
I think I’ll bathe in Grade A milk to cleanse that Jerry stain The bombardier said he’d prefer a tub of pink champagne. Imagine taking baths like that along with Lola Lane With all the money we’d collect I’d buy a Cadillac Custom built along the lines I dreamed up on my sack Give me a smoke, the pilot said, you still owe me a pack.
And as they took another turn the air raid warning blew That kind of thing encourages the goons to hurry through
Do you suppose, the pilot said, they found our raisin brew?
Liberator’s Lament -
Early one crisp September morn the planes begin to
roar Into the wild blue yonder, they were going out to war The target, it was Kassel and as such was highly cursed And they, we Old Man’s terrorfliegers were out to do their worst.
We formed the three-ship section and then we formed the six But when we tried to form the group the leader did some tricks The inside ships were stalling, the outside did 210 The Old Man grabbed his microphone and yelled “Now listen, men Though this looks like a milk run mission I want you all to know When I go on a mission it’s bound to be a show The bunch ahead I’m sure you know is a flying fortress group So about the way we’re gonna fly now I’ll give you some poop The Jerries they are tricky, they know that we’re too new They’re expecting us to straggle and they’ll get us if we do So this is what we plan to try if Jerry starts a fuss We’ll fly so close to the group ahead they won’t know which is us”.
Flying over Munster where Jerry’d laid a trap The Old Man took his tin hat off and laid it on his lap He turned back to the engineer and this is what he said: “If something must be shot away I’d rather lose my head”.
The flak was thick around us, the fighters they were worse But above the roar of battle you could hear the Old Man curse The vibration of the turrets made the instruments all dance The colonel was so frightened he darn near filled his pants Now Collar grew so anxious that his sights were synchronized He sat there sweating drops of blood as all hell filled the skies.
The bombs dropped out from all the ships, the crisis finally passed The Old Man yelled “Get out of here, and brother I mean fast!” We never completed that mission, though our Air Medal has a star And we knew the crews were wishing that the group would build a bar Because when a man has done a job that takes both guts and spunk The one thing that he’d like to do is go get stinkin’ drunk.
No matter at all how brave you are, no matter lad how bold A flyer’s great ambition is to die from growing old And when the flak is mighty thick though he’s a fighting man The place a guy should like to be is back home on his can.
Bomber Crew -
Author – Alex Boyd RAF navigator
The drone of engines irritates Dry mouthed and taut, the crew await The climax, each in his own way.
The gunners wet their lips and peer Nervously into the night, while fear
Creeps us behind us like a ghost.
We can not help ourselves, we are
As leaves in Autumn. Modern war Has little room for private fears.
Impersonal, no God of Wrath Compels us. Sirens mark our path And trembling cellars curse and pray.
The tension cracks. A bright cascade Of crimson bursts the night. Afraid? No more than that, much more than that.
The night becomes a drunken mass Of noise and color. Seconds pass Like hours. We lurch & help increase The chaos down below, then leave All dignity behind, and weave Hurriedly from that hostile place.
The clouds reflect the distant glow Of shattered houses, streets that flow With molten tar and leaping flames.
Young eyes are dull and purple patched With faces drawn, old age is matched By gross fatigue and weariness.
At last the engines final roar And fumbling fingers seek the door The night still surges in our ears.
The night is gone Scarlet the east that sets the sky aflame In rainbow dawn shame Or does the night withdraw from us.
For You The War Is Over
For you the war is over, the flyer heard the phrase
But it took a while to sink in, for he still felt
Short hours ago his plane had roared thru the
skies above so blue.
With tons of lead in her belly and a damn good
For you the war is over, you can make it what you
Solitary confinement, rough
treatment – or else a
life of ease.
The information that you give, can hurt you not at
all, - so
What is the phrase you Yankees use?, Oh yes!
Come On, Play ball.
We can give you food and cigarettes and quarters as
good as your own
Or else some lead from a firing squad and a grave
Your commander we know to be Col.
Blank, you flew
with the umpteenth group,
All of your training was done out West, you see, we
have all of the poop.
The Jerry told him so damn much, the airman’s head
Then the voice began again; “Now just where
He was still a kid with his life ahead and didn’t want
But just as he opened his mouth to speak, a scene
flashed by his eye.
The boys of his group were back at the bar, and the
old toast rang on high,
“Here’s to those who have gone before, and here’s to
the next man to die.”
Then the bombs rang down from blackened skies and the
crater where they fell,
Were the gates thru which his buddies fell to swell
the ranks of Hell.
He tried to laugh but it wouldn’t work, he hoped it
was just a bluff,
But if this Kraut was telling the truth, it certainly
was gonna be tough,
He was scared it’s true, but what the hell, he'd played
the game and lost.
He'd laughed at death up in the sky, so now he’d pay the
For me the war is over, Bud, you’ve sure got something
But there are a million more just like me, and they’ll
sure be in your hair.
You got me where you want me, so you can put me ‘neath
the grass, But the last words you’ll hear from me Major are, blow it out your ___.
Expendables of War
We’re the expendables of war, there never is an end.
When supplies run low send in for more planes, guns
Supplies are expendable overseas they said when we
left the port
And sent us off to England, for flying in a Fort.
We flew for many a fighting mile over the Jerryland.
Replacement come and then they’re gone like grains of
Here today and tomorrow gone, that is the golden
Send an M.I.A. to the folks back home, the effects to
The lucky ones were brought to Barth to rot in a
To live each day and at night to lay in a room that’s
cold and damp.
I’ll bet there’s less of home’s comforts here than
you’ll find in all creation,
But for all of that, it’d be really rough, if it
weren’t for our Red Cross Ration.
The days we spend in a straw sack or taking exercise.
At night play cards or draw a map and tell each other
We’ll be a hell of a bunch of happy crew the day the
war is ended
We’re the expendables of war and boy are we expended.
Hitch in Hell
I’m sitting here and thinking of the things I left
And its hard to put on paper what’s running thru my
I’ve flown in a batch of airplanes over a hell of a
batch of ground.
A drearier place this side of hell is waiting to be
But there’s one consolation, sit closer, while I tell
When I die, I’ll go to heaven, for I’ve done my hitch
The angels all will greet me, the harps will start to
It’s then you’ll here St. Peter say loudly with a
“Here take this soft front seat, Milt,
You’ve done your hitch in hell.”
Thompson's Wartime Log. Compliments of Kevin Greenwood
Sing a song of Stalag
Days that never end.
Tons of balmy "Kriegie"
Nearly "round the bend".
When the gates are opened
The government will sing
If that's the cream of Britain
O death where is thy sting.
The Underground Army Air Corps
With our hands on the Klim can
As we dig thru the mire,
We will go eight feet down men,
And then head straight for the wire,
And when the good work is finished
And we leave one hour hence.
You can bet the way is clear men,
From the barracks to the fence.
As I sit in the cooler
Filled with dust, dirt and grime,
Just two weeks to sweat out man,
Bet I’ll escape for sure next time
With no food or zigaretten
The time does move so slowly
So t’hell with the diggin I’ll just wait for Uncle Joe.
I have just one minute
Only sixty seconds in it
Forced upon it, can't refuse it
Don't seek it, didn't choose it.
I'll give account if I abuse it
Suffer if I lose it
Just a tiny little minute
But eternity is in it.
A Combat Airman's Prayer
Please dear God, just let me soar
O'er green and yellow fields, once more
Where there'll be on dirty clouds of black
Bringing forth the anguished cry of 'flak'.
Where sight of a speck out in the blue,
Will not mean "watch it - fighter or two"
As out of the sun streaks a blazing Hun
To make every man jump, and with a blazing gun.
Endeavor to pay another life
To the devil who started this world strife
If you don't think this too much a boon,
Please dear God, please make it soon.
When, ev'ry night, in my tortured dreams,
I try and try to sleep, it seems,
I hear a super natural cry,
Straight out of hell it seems to fly.
And then my muddled senses make,
A gallant effort to awake.
My trembling body - sunken deep,
In arms of Morpheus; heavenly sleep.
What is this cry? - Oh mournful note,
Some ghostly, mad musician wrote,
Responding to Satan's accolade,
I hear it now - "Parade! Parade!"
Lest we Forget
The hours spent in forced content,
The long awaited Big Event,
The written letter that ne’er appeared,
The folks at home at last had heard,
The sandy soil so easily flown,
The spots field and the trodden path,
The weekly showers and bucket bath,
The baseball games and passing girls,
The long haired men with feminine curls,
The huge moustache and shaven head,
The solid boards and straw filled beds,
The shuttered windows and systematic search,
The tunnel diggers with mud besmirched,
The Klim can pans and makeshift lamp,
The fireless stove when days were damp,
The Red Cross Parcels and Jerry Rations,
The Red Cross clothing and self made fashions,
The turnips, cabbage and lowly spud,
Many times wet and covered with mud,
The margarine, jam, cheese and fish,
Which made a rough untempting dish,
The weighty bread we had to toast,
That rivaled the food in bitter taste,
The modern plays and concerts, too,
The plaques, works of art, and Barley glue,
The postern towers and bright spotlights,
That searched the camp throughout the night,
The sirens wail and droning planes,
The flying boats and whistling trains,
And last but not least in the G.T.O.,
Our Kriegie friends, every Tom, Dick and Joe.
By an unknown prisoner, written on the wall of his solitary cell. The poem
was taken from the book, Prisoner of War: My Secret Journal, by
Squadron Leader B. Arct.
You know there is a saying
That sunshine follows rain,
And sure enough you'll realise
That joy will follow pain;
Let courage be your password
Make fortitude your guide,
And then instead of grousing
Remember those who died.
The following was posted on many of the doors into rooms at Stalag Luft I
K N O C K
Be prepared to listen as well as talk!
We have known gallant men who have bailed out of every type of aircraft, under
every type of circumstances with every type of chute, from every altitude, with
any number of props feathered. We have eaten better, and, worse food than you.
We know better stories, have known more women and more generals. We can be more
dignified or more undignified than anybody else in the whole camp.
Your are very welcome, come in friend !
"Freedom has a taste to those who fight
and almost die for it, that the protected shall never know."
POW (reported to be found inscribed in a solitary confinement cell).
"The whole nine yards" expression comes from the
fact that some WWII fighter planes carried nine yards of belted ammunition
"When you go home, Tell
them of us and say, For your tomorrow, We gave our today"
" To really live one must almost die"
" I would not like to go through it again - But I am proud to be so
severely tested and proved adequate".
In the Air War over Europe; "The sky was the
arena and only God sat in the bleachers"
The kriegie orchestra at Stalag Luft I produced
all their own arrangements and even found time to compose a few
songs as well. Probably the most popular of these compositions
was “Low is the Sun”, words and music by POW John Lashly of the
LOW IS THE
by John Lashly
Days have their worries
Nights have their furies
But in between times its dull
I hate to seem
So hate to dream
such a lull, so –
Low is the sun as slowly it
leaves the sky,
Low is the moon as night
So is my heart whenever the
day is through
Once a day, every day,
evenings bring thoughts of you
Each long shadow
You must be
But my heart
“Don’t go back, your
through”, so –
When in dusk I sit around
just for fun
Its to think of you, only,
lonely, when low in the sun.
The Air Force Song - Full Lyrics
by Robert Crawford, courtesy USAF Heritage of America
Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!
Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,
Sent it high into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world asunder;
How they lived God only knew! (God only knew then!)
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer
Gave us wings, ever to soar!
With scouts before And bombers galore. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!
Bridge: "A Toast to the Host"
Here's a toast to the host
Of those who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.
We drink to those who gave their all of old,
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force!
Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true;
If you'd live to be a grey-haired wonder
Keep the nose out of the blue! (Out of the blue, boy!)
Flying men, guarding the nation's border,
We'll be there, followed by more!
In echelon we carry on. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!
Notes: Crawford didn't write
"Hey!"; he actually wrote "SHOUT!" without specifying the
word to be shouted. Wherever they appear, the words "U.S. Air Force"
have been changed from the original "Army Air Corps." Words in
parentheses are spoken, not sung.
“Voices of the Mighty Eighth” (Of combat
crews who never returned)
No graves or markers in the ground to show or tell their
Yet I still hear them in the wind-their voices never fail.
Blown to bits and pieces -scattered in the skies.
They tell me—please do not forget, we live behind your eyes.
And yes they do-I hear their call-their voices strong and
Each one is burned upon my soul-forever-year to year
The debt we owe to all of them, we never can repay
But listen—cherish peace and love and live them every day.
This came in
the mail in 2000 at the Massachusetts 8th Air Force Historical
Society chapter, it was signed simply “A survivor”.