The new poetry section

Songs and poetry relating to the RFC and RAF or aviation in general

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 09 Aug 2013, 12:27

I can't find any other reference to the Airman's Philosophy on the internet [other than as a creation of WEJ], but something is niggling at the back of my mind too that i read yrs ago about another RFC reference.

Digressing slightly, I remember reading John Gillespie Magee's poem "High Flight" a long time ago, & it has always fascinated me with it's imagery & the beauty of flight [I think it was in the foreword of a famous aviator's biography, can't remember who now]:

[" High Flight"

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
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 blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even 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.]
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
User avatar
OzBiggles1963
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4715
Images: 292
Joined: 12 Jun 2013, 10:15
Location: Brisbane. Australia.
Reading last: Ginger Lacey: Fighter Pilot
Reading now: Danger UXB; The Little Prince
Reading next: History Of The Luftwaffe [1936-1945]
My top chap: J.C. Bigglesworth MC, DFC, DSO
Starsign: Scorpio
Aircraft: Supermarine Spitfire
Random: "Live long and prosper."

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby Jennifer » 09 Aug 2013, 12:35

What a lovely poem - very moving - and how good to know that Biggles Philosophy is displayed in the Australian Museum.
User avatar
Jennifer
Flying officer
Flying officer
 
Posts: 472
Joined: 26 Apr 2013, 10:37
Location: Lancashire England

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby Spitfire666 » 09 Aug 2013, 14:59

Jennifer wrote:I always understood it was an RFC thing - very good wherever it came from.

Quotes in Johns' books were always credited to whoever, as far as I know. In this case, the wording is there with no name to it, which makes it seem like it must be Johns own work.
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

http://wejas.org.uk
User avatar
Spitfire666
Site Orderly
Site Orderly
 
Posts: 3192
Images: 37
Joined: 18 Apr 2013, 12:45
Location: London

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby SaintedAunt » 09 Aug 2013, 15:21

You must be right S666. It is strange though that both Jennifer and I have a memory of seeing it elsewhere and I think that my memory is of a slightly different wording. But I can't find it, so I guess that's that :)
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
User avatar
SaintedAunt
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 5088
Images: 69
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 17:35
Location: East Suffolk Coastal
My top chap: Biggles
Starsign: Capricorn
Aircraft: Sopwith Camel

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby Tommy Smith » 09 Aug 2013, 16:13

Always loved that poem OzBiggles, the other one which haunts me is Fleet Flyer.
"Spare my days! Who wants to be true to life? Why read about what you can see going on around you any day of the week?"
Tommy Smith
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 3708
Images: 96
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 07:56

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 10 Aug 2013, 03:20

OzBiggles1963 wrote:I can't find any other reference to the Airman's Philosophy on the internet [other than as a creation of WEJ], but something is niggling at the back of my mind too that i read yrs ago about another RFC reference.

Digressing slightly, I remember reading John Gillespie Magee's poem "High Flight" a long time ago, & it has always fascinated me with it's imagery & the beauty of flight [I think it was in the foreword of a famous aviator's biography, can't remember who now]:
" High Flight"


I have always loved that poem, OzB. It was in my poetry anthology at High School and always resonated with me. Thanks for sharing it.
RAAF Spitfire Girl
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 3951
Images: 100
Joined: 19 Apr 2013, 21:49
Location: South East Queensland, Australia.
Reading last: The Corners of the Globe (Robert Goddard)
Reading now: Enemy Coast Ahead
Reading next: Still a Tough decision!!
My top chap: Biggles, Biggles, and Biggles
Aircraft: Spitfire
Random: Walking Hadrian's Wall May 2017

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby DrBiggles » 10 Aug 2013, 10:27

"The Airman's Philosophy" first appeared in August 1931 in "The Modern Boy's Book of Aircraft" - which was edited by W. E. Johns and featured a number of articles by him. He also painted the four colour plates
used in the book. I strongly suspect he did write "The Airman's Philosophy" himself and then re-use it in August 1941 for "SPITFIRE PARADE" as almost all of that book contained re-writes of Johns' earlier work.

You can read all about this book at my web site here:-
http://www.wejohns.com/Other%20Books/Aircraft/
User avatar
DrBiggles
Flying officer
Flying officer
 
Posts: 411
Images: 3
Joined: 06 May 2013, 08:38

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 10 Aug 2013, 14:25

[quote="RAAF Spitfire Girl".....I have always loved that poem, OzB. It was in my poetry anthology at High School and always resonated with me. Thanks for sharing it].

Another poem I remember well [& recited so well in the 1945 movie The Way To The Stars....great but relatively unknown WW2 movie about RAF life on a bomber station, starring Michael Redgrave & my favourite British actor John Mills]:

JOHN PUDNEY

For Johnny

Do not despair
For Johnny-head-in-air;
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.

Fetch out no shroud
For Johnny-in-the-cloud;
And keep your tears
For him in after years.

Better by far
For Johnny-the-bright-star,
To keep your head,
And see his children fed.
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
User avatar
OzBiggles1963
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4715
Images: 292
Joined: 12 Jun 2013, 10:15
Location: Brisbane. Australia.
Reading last: Ginger Lacey: Fighter Pilot
Reading now: Danger UXB; The Little Prince
Reading next: History Of The Luftwaffe [1936-1945]
My top chap: J.C. Bigglesworth MC, DFC, DSO
Starsign: Scorpio
Aircraft: Supermarine Spitfire
Random: "Live long and prosper."

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby SaintedAunt » 11 Aug 2013, 22:48

There is a cheerful mess song in 'The Zone Call', in Camels Are Coming which I happen to be re-reading at the moment. It is to be sung to "John Peel" but is unfinished - Biggles heard a Hun plane and stopped them singing...

Curiously, WEJ describes it as the words of the old R.A.F. song - at a point where as far as one can tell in Camels Are Coming, the R.A.F. hadn't been invented :D (nearly as bad as an author who suggests Algy wouldn't recognise and FE.2b when he saw one :twisted: )

Could be added to - lots of potential for lots more verses :lol:

Oh, my batman awoke me from my bed,
I'd had a thick night, and I'd got a sore head;
So I said to myself,
To myself, I said,
Oh, I haven't got a hope in the mo-orning

So I went to the sheds to examine my gun,
And then my engine I tried to run,
But the revs. she ga-ve
Were a thousand and one.
So, I hadn't got a hope in the mo-orning

Oh, we were escorting "twenty-two,"
Hadn't got a notion what to do,
So we shot down a Sp-a-ad,
And an F.E. too
For we hadn't ---
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
User avatar
SaintedAunt
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 5088
Images: 69
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 17:35
Location: East Suffolk Coastal
My top chap: Biggles
Starsign: Capricorn
Aircraft: Sopwith Camel

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby Fairblue » 12 Aug 2013, 08:52

Found this full version on the web described as an old RFC song - It probably went into the annals of the RAF when it was formed, so WEJ might have been technically correct, I suppose as he wrote The Camels are Coming when the RFC no longer existed. Loads more out there, a lot I wouldn't care to print here. :oops:


We Haven't Got A Hope in the Morning


When you soar into the air on a Sopwith Scout,
And you're scrapping with a Hun and your gun cuts out,
Well, you stuff down your nose till your plugs fall out,
'Cos you haven't got a hope in the morning.

Chorus__
For a batman woke me from my bed;
I'd had a thick night and a very sore head,
And I said to myself, to myself I said,
"Oh, we haven't got a hope in the morning !"

So I went to the sheds and examined my gun,
Then, my engine I tried to run;
And the revs that it gave were a thousand and one,
'Cos it hadn't got a hope in the morning.
Chorus__

We were escorting Twenty-two,
Hadn't a notion what to do,
So we shot down a Hun and an F.E. too,
'Cos they hadn't got a hope in the morning.
Chorus__

We went to Cambrai, all in vain,
The F.E.'s said, "we must explain;
Our cameras broke--we must do it again;
Oh, we haven't got a hope in the morning!"
Chorus__
__________________
The Decision to Survive - A good pilot is both born and made. The best would look upon his work as a combination of adventure and a serious mission. – Major General Sir Frederick Sykes
User avatar
Fairblue
Air marshal
Air marshal
 
Posts: 29561
Images: 119
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 11:05
Location: Up North
Reading now: War in a Stringbag - Charles Lamb
Reading next: Depends on my mood
My top chap: Bertie - who else?
Starsign: Leo
Aircraft: Spitfire

Re: Various other bits.. Biggles Philosophy

Postby Tommy Smith » 12 Aug 2013, 09:46

and of course EVERYBODY knows

A POOR AVIATOR LAY DYING
(First World War Version, trad)
Tune: My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean

A poor aviator lay dying
At the end of a bright summer's day
His comrades had gathered about him
To carry his fragments away

The airplane was piled on his wishbone
His Hotchkiss was wrapped round his head
He wore a spark-plug on each elbow
'Twas plain he would shortly be dead

He spit out a valve and a gasket
And stirred in the sump where he lay
And then to his wondering comrades
These brave parting words he did say

"Take the magneto out of my stomach,
And the butterfly valve off my neck,
Extract from my liver the crankshaft,
There are lots of good parts in this wreck"

"Take the manifold out of my larynx,
And the cylinders out of my brain,
Take the piston rods out of my kidneys,
And assemble the engine again."

Additional verses in some versions detract from the poignancy of the pilot being one with his aeroplane.

Pull the longeron out of my backbone,
The turnbuckle out of my ear (my ear).
From the small of my back take the rudder-
There's all of your aeroplane here.

I'll be riding a cloud in the morning,
With no rotary before me to cuss (to cuss).
Take the lead from your feet and get busy,
Here's another lad needing the bus!

Take the bullet from out of my shoulder,
Take the shrapnel out of my brain,
And the pom-pom from out of my liver,
And patch up the turret again

I’ll be riding a cloud in the morning,
No more this gun turret to cuss,
So please patch me up in my shroud,
For I’ll not be needing this bus

So hold all your glasses steady,
And let’s drink a toast to the sky,
For here’s to the dead already,
And here’s to the next man to die

Oh, had I the wings of a little dove,
Far a-way, far a-way would I fly, I fly,
Straight to the arms of my true-love,
And there would I lay me and die.

Then get you two little white tombstones,
Put them one at my head and my toe, my toe,
And get you a penknife and scratch there,
“Here lies a poor pilot below.”

And when at the Court of Enquiry
They ask for the reason I died, I died,
Please say I forgot twice iota
Was the minimum angle of glide.
"Spare my days! Who wants to be true to life? Why read about what you can see going on around you any day of the week?"
Tommy Smith
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 3708
Images: 96
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 07:56

The new poetry section

Postby SaintedAunt » 12 Aug 2013, 12:03

Thanks to S666 for creating this :D
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
User avatar
SaintedAunt
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 5088
Images: 69
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 17:35
Location: East Suffolk Coastal
My top chap: Biggles
Starsign: Capricorn
Aircraft: Sopwith Camel

Re: The new poetry section

Postby Sizzling Sausages » 13 Aug 2013, 00:11

Here's one from The Anzac Book, which was written and prepared by the ANZAC soldiers at Gallipoli while they were still there, fighting, and published in 1916. There are stories, poems, drawings and so forth, some serious, some not. Johns, of course, served at Gallipoli before joining the RFC. It was hard to choose just one piece, so I settled on this one as being most appropriate for the thread. :)

MR. AEROPLANE

(With compliments to the R.N.A.S. in the Dardanelles)

HURRAH for Mr. Aeroplane,
A-sailin' in the blue;
I'm glad to see you up again -
Me compliments to you.

I'm Tommy Brown, Australian,
Who's fightin' here on land;
An', strike me, Mr. Flyin' Man,
I'd like to shake your hand.

Sometimes I feel I'd like to streak
Beside you in the sky;
An' then my nerves go all a-shake
To think you're up so high.

By jingo! how your bloomin' grit
Must make old Jacko dance;
An' don't he fuss to make a hit,
When given half a chance.

But on you go inquirin',
As if the job were fun,
An Jacko was a-firin'
A nipper's toy popgun.

You give the battleships the wink,
They gets their guns to bear;
An' then - oh, strike me blue an' pink -
Then don't the Turkies swear!

Ah, well - beyond the hills you go;
We wish you best o' luck,
Remember, all the boys below
Enjoy your bloomin' pluck.

H.G. GARLAND,
16th Aust. Battalion.
User avatar
Sizzling Sausages
Flight lieutenant
Flight lieutenant
 
Posts: 1312
Images: 40
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 10:15
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
Reading now: You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels

Re: The new poetry section

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 13 Aug 2013, 09:11

Thanks SS,

Must get out my Aussie soldier's poetry anthology [have one somewhere, if only I could put my hands on it, hmmm].

I've always loved the Aussie soldier's dry & laconic sense of humour.....maybe it's just me, but the "lingo", or accent as it were, of these ANZAC's [as written in this poem & elsewhere] always reminds me of the Cockney way of speaking [i.e. dropping of the "G's" etc]. Digressing for a moment, one of the reasons I loved "Copper" in the Gimlet series..."Cor blimey, not 'arf Guvnor!", lol].
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
User avatar
OzBiggles1963
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4715
Images: 292
Joined: 12 Jun 2013, 10:15
Location: Brisbane. Australia.
Reading last: Ginger Lacey: Fighter Pilot
Reading now: Danger UXB; The Little Prince
Reading next: History Of The Luftwaffe [1936-1945]
My top chap: J.C. Bigglesworth MC, DFC, DSO
Starsign: Scorpio
Aircraft: Supermarine Spitfire
Random: "Live long and prosper."

Re: The new poetry section

Postby Spitfire666 » 13 Aug 2013, 09:20

OzBiggles1963 wrote:I've always loved the Aussie soldier's dry & laconic sense of humour.....maybe it's just me, but the "lingo", or accent as it were, of these ANZAC's [as written in this poem & elsewhere] always reminds me of the Cockney way of speaking [i.e. dropping of the "G's" etc]. Digressing for a moment, one of the reasons I loved "Copper" in the Gimlet series..."Cor blimey, not 'arf Guvnor!", lol].

I am a Cockney, grew up in the East End of London, so Copper was my favourite (although I seem to have lost the accent somewhere along the way). 8-)
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

http://wejas.org.uk
User avatar
Spitfire666
Site Orderly
Site Orderly
 
Posts: 3192
Images: 37
Joined: 18 Apr 2013, 12:45
Location: London


Return to Poetry/Songs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron