Officers Mess RAF Scampton Lincolnshire 617
Sqd Base The Dambusters
This site is dedicated to the air and ground crews of the Royal Air
Force, in and around the county of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom during the period 1939/45 of the Second World War.
The poems on this web
site have been written by myself over a period of years, but eventually they will be collated into book form. I do hope
that you will enjoy the poems as much as I have had in writing them. They are both happy and sad and reflect the reallity
of life in and around RAF bases throughout the Second World War conflict in both hot, and some times very cold conditions.
Except for a major repair, like an engine change, a lancaster or similar sized aircraft was serviced outside in all weathers.
More poems from my collection will be added to this site in time.
The poem 'Real Aviator's' on this page is dedicated to the
majority of aviators, aviatrix, and the builders and inventors of the flying machine, who were prepared to
give up both life and limb for the sake of aviation and the chance to sore like the birds.
Deep Winter 1940
The only noise to break the eerie
silence is the creaking of the bed as I rise. Hot ash drops through the grate of the stove as I pass revealing bright red
embers of the fire as it gradually sheds a long finger of light all around the room. I quickly wash and shave,
trying not to make any noise which may disturb my fellow pilots, dress, and very reluctantly head towards the door.
Once outside, the comforting warmth of the room is soon forgotten as I become completely surrounded by a bitter winters morning.
Hoarfrost soon begins to nibble at my extremities, and grass crackles underfoot as I leave a very distinctive path accross
winters fresh white carpet.
My expelled breath hangs around me like a cloak before condensing
away, a bit reminiscent of a turkish bath I had taken while on leave in London. The small amount of heat left in my
body oozes away at every opportunity, leaving me shivering to the bone with a figure of collective form behind.
I quicken my pace, and although clothed in a thick jumper and two pairs of socks, the thin sharp air soon begins
to penetrate through to my temperature reducing mass below. My RAF issue sheepskin lined boots although normally
very good are no match for this type of weather, and my toes tingle as the cold seeps in making it much harder to walk.
I swiftly make for the aircraft but the time seems eternal, my equipment is gradually becoming much heavier
as it twists around my legs and slowly begins to slide to the ground. I stop for a moment to recover my breath, dulled
tones drift accross my frozen ears sounding much more like a foreign language, and just as bad to decipher.
Upon reaching the aircraft I stoop holding my knees and gulp air to gain breath and regain my posture, my legs bend
as if made of rubber, but I recover just in time to prevent myself from sinking to the ground. Breathing has now become
forced and my chest is heavy as if it may cave in at any moment. I struggle to climb onto the wing and into the cockpit,
but I manage to close the canopy behind me with a swift action as a voiced chorus with a never ending echo rings around my
head. I begin to feel a little sick as dizziness caused by lack of oxygen tries to take over my brain, but I try to
think positive. The cold metal stings and sticks to my skin, chilblains rush to my fingertips as I reach for my flying
gloves. I rub my hands together and begin to feel a little warmer as the circulation begins to return, which allows
me to adjust the parachute and harness as I settle down to start the initial start up checks:
Undercarriage selector lever down, light on.
2 Flaps up, landing lamps up
3 Contents of lower fuel tank, thirty seven gallons
4 Both fuel cock
5 Throttle open half inch
7 Airscrew lever, fully forward
Radiator shutter open
I prime the engine, and switch on the ignition while at the same time
pulling out the pump handle to give the engine one more prime. I press the starter button and with a reluctant cough
the engine begins to turn over. A couple of more minutes pass while cranking the engine before it begins to fire more
When the final preparations and vital actions are complete I slowly taxi accross the
grass to depart. I open the throttle through the gate and hold the lever hard against the quadrant in boost position, three
thousand revolutions per minute, boost plus twelve and a half. I am soon rolling and quickly become airborne to leave
the still white undulating fields below. Three hundred and forty miles per hour, and with a quick half roll I turn to
starboard and head south, the aircrafts rivets pulsating to the growl of the Merlin as I set course in the early morning sun.
My body has now recovered from it's early baptisme of a frozen world, but I keep an ever watchfull eye all around.
John C Haywood Copyright ©
Poetry In Action
1667 H.C.U. Sandtoft (Prangtoft)
Round and round with the H.O.C. mind that chimney mind that tree, throttle control, don't let it sink, or we'll
be floating in the drink
Circuits and bumps both day and night, will we ever get this
flying right, single, twin and now the heavy, it's time for the pub, a wad and a bevy
Well it's got to be done, and it's got to be right, and flying tomorrow will be all done at height, so an early
bed makes an early day and increases by twopence our weekly pay
We've got the instructor,
on this our last flight, so let's show him we're ready to handle this kite, 'now how about corkscrews' it's
sure to impress 'is it rudder left over' or yoke, what a mess
We should have
been higher to miss all the trees, as we came straight and level we rolled ninty degrees. Well I don't think he
noticed the engineer said, as he lay in the bomb bay rubbing lumps on his head
that was good lads, let's head back to base 'what's that Tom's just shouted 'he's picked up a trace,
'did he say it was foe like' or just a good friend Oh! here comes the runway, thank God it's the end.
John C Haywood Copyright © Poetry In
Run Woodhall Spa
mist that covers all, with chorused song begins to call
Entwine the Sun to greet the dawn, returning craft on early morn
times long finger quickens on, this deadly flight has almost gone
depth of blue an open sky, loves triumph lost or passing by
aloft so whisper thin, guarding aircrew held within
Awake the night to
close the day, infused with colour from lights last ray.
John C Haywood Copyright © Poetry In Action
Enter the realm of the watchtower Drown in nostalgia here-with
So the airmen who gave their lives freely
Rest with the thoughts that we live
Soak up the spirit abounding Let-all your senses take heed
Spare a thought if you will for these people
Who rallied to call and to need
Remember the scene in this tower Leave with a memory that's true
And think of the airmen still resting Watching
the sky from the blue.
John C Haywood Copyright © Poetry In Action
Metheringham watchtower stands forlorn
as hoar frost swirls to break the dawn
airmen will appear
their thoughts beholding hidden fear
Who knows what fate there is in store
returned from foreign shore
All watchful eye's see them inside
a metal tomb on deadly ride
start up cuts the day
while ground crew struggle 'chocks away'
Each craft departs with waves good-by
to slip it's bond and climb on high
As one by one they disapear
reluctant ground crew shed a tear
For well they know with every flight
of aircraft who, just out of sight
Will not return or reach this
their names are posted 'lost no trace'
Some crews are back their luck held right
day sinks quick to night
The talk of missing fills the air
as lonely room seeks empty chair
friends are made old friends are lost
but what of others 'count the cost'
C Haywood Copyright © Poetry In Action
Trevor travels from his home to work at Caistor Aerodrome
repairs and service
every day with overtime to boost his pay
The sergeants taken on this kite and given him a nasty fright
needs an engine and lot's more' as Trevor gasps and grabs the door
'Bring in the challenge' Trev's
eyes go shifty
'This kite needs more than just a fifty'
much hard work and within one week,
he brings the aircraft to it's peek
Just as the Lanc is signed complete, his thoughts are on a flying seat
but wait, alas, his airborne feat, Trev's name was never on the sheet
And all his work, and all his pain,
has come to sorrow once again
as 'Sergeant Beeky' at full strain shoots out the hangar like a train
So Trevor could but stand and stare as Beeky's Lanc rose in the air.
John C Haywood
Copyright © Poetry In Action
Last Leg to North Coates
Locked in silence homeward bound, engine noise distracted sound
Ever near so safe to be, last leg down
o'er cruel sea
A one o nine is on the tail, of this, a burning aircraft's vapour trail
running low and turning right determined now to stop this flight
Half roll round he blasts our ship, the flight
look's doomed, but not this trip
Spitfire's appear from out-the-sun, and soon our attackers on the run
Our lucky day is hear at last, such fateful times are in the past
none but those who stand and stare of broken bodies
It's our last trip we're due for leave, but other ground
crew stand and greave
their precious craft has not returned, posthumous 'gongs' so sadly earned.
John C Haywood Copyright © Poetry In Action
Second Thoughts of Bardney
Is this my life that's passing by unfolding 'Hells' most deepest thoughts,
now at deaths great door, a moments glance a second look
Can I stand back and trace my steps
I bow my
head the door shuts tight
all thoughts have gone the flight is long
can I return to better days
think so those times are dead
the only way is forward now.
John C Haywood Copyright © Poetry