Warm Hands …….
My thanks to Eric Sharp for sending the photograph below. Few details are known other than the photograph came from a friend in the United States. I could be wrong, but it looks as if it might have been some kind of publicity shot. If anyone can identify any of the crew members, please let the editor know.
The crew of Avro Lancaster ‘C for Charlie’ of No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF, try to warm themselves in their Nissen hut quarters at Dunholme Lodge, Lincolnshire, England, after returning from a raid on Stuttgart, 2nd of March 1944.
Repent, oh Scottish Sinner!
The ever-reliable John Thompson, from his lair in Geelong, Australia, added his voice to the SNP debate by sending this:
There was a Scottish house painter named Smokey MacGregor who was very interested in making a penny where he could, so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further.
As it happened, he got away with this for some time. The Baptist Church decided to do a big restoration job on the outside of one of their biggest buildings so Smokey put in a bid, and, because his price was so low, he got the job.
He set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with water.
Well, Smokey was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Smokey clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.
Smokey was no fool. He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty, so he got down on his knees and cried:"Oh, God, Oh God, forgive me; what should I do?”
And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke, “Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!”
The King’s Thunderbolts
An Operational Record and Roll of Honour
No 44 Squadron’s Operational History was compiled from accounts by air and ground crew who flew and worked on the Squadron during both World Wars. The annex contains many accounts of aircrew who survived bale outs and some who evaded capture while on the run in occupied territory. It recalls vividly the experiences of those unfortunate enough to spend much of the Second World War in prison camps.
The title of the book comes from the Squadron’s motto “Fulmina Regis Iusta” which translates as “The King’s Thunderbolts are Righteous”. The history contains 255 A4 pages and is in laminated soft back. The recommended retail price is £24 plus postage and packing but the price to Association members will be discounted at £17, which includes postage and packing.
To order a copy of this excellent book please send remittance to Henry Horscroft,
9 Church Lane, Eagle,
Waddington, June 1940
P M Helmore, November 1942
Dark silhouettes against the evening sky
The hangars crouch, like monster beasts of prey.
A soft expectancy sighs with the ending day,
And round the field the waiting Hampdens lie.
And now the moon is rising o’er the cloud,
And bathes with golden light the friendly trees.
The long, lush grasses tremble in the breeze;
The moonlit road is like a ghostly shroud.
There is a sadness in the slender air,
And melancholy shades the village church
Where grey owls ‘midst the stonework search
For insects small, and take their supper there.
But soft … who are these noble youths so bold
In fur-lined garments clad? So very fair
Are they, they take my breath away, and tear
My very soul. I know not why. It’s cold.
Across the flying field in twos and threes
They stroll. The moon shines on their faces
Clear. Long limbs, and graceful, measured paces,
So English, and so very … I freeze.
And now the planes glide seemingly through space.
The ground is soft, the great tailwheels sink fast.
The revving engine draws them out. At last
It’s zero hour. The first moves to its place.
Propellors thrash the air, then seem to stop
And hover in the air awhile, and start
Anew. The baton of the unseen Boult takes part
And orchestrates; we wait … and lo, it is … a prop.
Softly the Drem lights flicker in the dusk,
And one by one the planes take off, and pass
Me by. They seem to skim the ground. The grass
They scarcely touch; and rising, leave this earthy husk.
A squadron circuiting a moonlit sky was seen,
Bound for some far-off, Nazi-governed land;
But on their heavy load was stamped the brand
Of Freedom, and of peaceful worlds serene.
And now the earth is quiet, no echos fall;
And I am left alone, so sad, so still …
I know they will return. “Please God they will.”
I stand and pray beneath the hangar wall.
The velvet cloak of night has fallen fast,
And o’er the slumbering camp has cast a spell.
And has the moon a secret? Who can tell …
And Waddington is beautiful at last.