Posts Tagged ‘RAF’

I was lucky, I had my dad and mum until my early thirties – but so many didn’t.

1967M&DUmthali web

My Dad was a Pathfinder in the R.A.F. 35 Squadron and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by King George.  

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Mum blamed the blitz for making her take up smoking.


Dad never missed the chance to proudly honor his fallen mates in whichever country he found himself – it was the only time his medals saw the light of day and the only time he publicly acknowledged the war unless ‘Dambusters’ or ‘Battle of Britain‘ were on TV.    

My husband and I have been doing a lot of research into Mum and Dad’s life before Africa and have found out many surprising facts which have answered many, many questions we should have asked when they were with us.  

I now know why  ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ was one of Dad’s favorite songs – those words had so much meaning for a young man flying into unknown danger every night.

Listening to it again, the Andrew Sisters takes me back to being a little girl – I can only imagine where it took Dad.

Anything ‘The Force’s Sweetheart‘ sang was evocative:  ‘You’ll Never Know(…just how much I miss you…) “We’ll Meet Again” and so many more.

How many times did Mum have to ‘smile’?

 ‘Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye’  Songwriters: PARK, PHIL/PARR-DAVIES, HARRY (Extract):

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye 
Cheerio, here I go, on my way
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Not a tear, but a cheer, make it gay
Give me a smile I can keep all the while
In my heart while I’m away
Till we meet once again, you and I
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye 
Cheerio, here I go on my way.
‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ were particularly relevant to Dad limping home after a sortie, most often with a few holes in the fuselage.  Seeing those luminous cliffs would have let him take a deep breath in relief.

But life moves so fast and suddenly you don’t have the opportunity to talk about days past and if I was really honest, probably neither of them would, about ‘the best and worst time’ of their lives.

And it’s only very recently my mother has also been honored with a medal although she never knew she was due one.

Remembrance Day, 1973:  I remember watching the ceremony on TV during a working holiday in UK and crying for so many…

The Queen in Black    

How many thousands watched her lay

the wreath of poppies while they prayed…

Or held their breath and stood still in silence

– two minutes for the sacrifice, in remembrance.

As each petal falls from above so a page in the book

of memories ~ thoughts of someone they loved and lost.

They say each petal represents the life of one who gave.

Poppies seen growing amongst a countryside of graves…

Frances Macaulay Forde © 1973

And Eric Bogle also has the power to make me cry, today.

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Stephen Page

Author: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook @steven.page.1481

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