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23 September 2013

Airman

A rather different post today - not from the 1943 diary but from the modern blogger. Two days + 70 years ago Fred mentioned John in his diary, and I added a photo and notes on the airman who was to die within two weeks of his visit to Fred in Raynes Park. I wrote this poem last year, using for the 2nd and 3rd verses words from John's letter to his aunt and uncle. I remember flying a small aircraft, as a private pilot, in areas once contested by the RAF, which makes the history even more poignant.

Airman


You fly with me above the clouds

where dreams compete with memories
of pain and pleasure, long-forgotten stories
of bold young heroes -
warriors who killed, were killed
for... honour? freedom?
Some were very gentle warriors...

'I am writing this to the music of Mozart,'
his final letter -
'there is a time when we must talk...
I am more than thankful for everything
everything that you have done for me
and the many happy times
that I have spent with you...

'...you can guess that I am well away
listening to such lovely music...
if I could have practised my piano more
I feel sure I could have done so well...
I should very much like a small photo
of Anthony if you have one to spare...
Cheerio for now, the war will soon be over!

'Love to you one and all,
Your ever loving nephew,
John.'

                                           Tony French, 2012



The body of John Hodgkins was eventually moved to Hanover War Cemetery.
Hanover War Cemetery, Germany



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