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A Tribute to the Ground Crew

Article about: Most excellent. Just now re-reading 'The Red Baron - Beyond The Legend' by Peter Kilduff and in the book it is mentioned (as other sources likewise state), that as the pilots depended so muc

  1. #1

    Default A Tribute to the Ground Crew

    Hi all. I have been going through my Grandfather's papers. He was ground crew in 235 squadron RAF Coastal Command and found a printed copy of this, I think, poignant poem. Some may have seen it before, but I was not aware of it. Seems like it was written during the War but not sure by whom. Cheers.

    A Tribute to the Ground Crew

    He wears a suit of faded blue,
    No brevet on his breast,
    He's got more streaks of engine oil,
    Than medals on his chest,
    He doesn't sit behind the guns,
    Of a multi- engined plane,
    Or steer a graceful fighter,
    Above the clouds and rain.

    He wields a heavy spanner,
    And a piece of oily rag,
    While the other fellow shoots the hun,
    And boasts about his bag,
    He works in mud and sleet and rain,
    And curses this senseless war,
    And he wonders ninety times a day,
    What he joined the Air Force for.

    He just an ordinary fitter,
    Nothing more, nothing less,
    A pair of dark blue overalls,
    In place of battle dress,
    But he strikes a blow at the filthy Bosche,
    With his honest British skill,
    As sure as the man who aims the bomb,
    Or the gunner who makes the kill.

    He does'nt ask for glory,
    For that isn't the fitter's way,
    All he asks is the pilot's smile,
    As he says "She flies OK",
    So when you read of bombing raids,
    And Messerschmitt's shot down,
    When you've covered flying hero's,
    With honors and renown,
    When you've handed out the DFM's,
    The DFC's and such.

    Just spare a thought for the ground crews,
    Who don't ask for much,
    And shake them by the hand,
    And smile, and think they did a lot,
    To make the roaring engine soft,
    For the man who fired the shot.

  2. #2


    Love it! They played an essential role! I was reading about Ground Crew within Bomber Command recently and how they had to bear up to the regular losses of their pilots/Aircrew

    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  3. #3


    I do not know much about his service, but one of the stories I have been told was that part of his job involved cleaning out the gore from aircraft that had been hit by flak etc. Not a pleasant job.

  4. #4


    Don't know if the link to this fascinating film has been posted before but I've only recently discovered it and it contains some excellent colour footage of ground-crews at work on Lancs as well as the active ops. Unsung heroes indeed.

  5. #5


    Great poem. Pilots themselves were very thankful for their crews.
    A crew chief would joke that the plane was his, and he only
    loans it to the pilot.........


  6. #6


    This is great, my granfather was a Aircraft fitter in Africa and italy.. Ending the war as a Sgt, would love to find out more about his service, was mentioned in Dispatches on 01/01/1945 for something, always wondered why

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    I am sure there would be the records of an MID somewhere. Do you know which squadron he was with?

  8. #8


    SGT William Bond NO 530378 service from 12-3-36 to 24- 9 -45.
    He was overseas for 35 months he went to the middle east and Italy. Mentioned in despatches London gagetta on the 1-1-45. Was in was in the 501 bombers 101 bombers at the start of the war. Then 110 i think, 147 which was then folded into 178 sqd at the end of war.

  9. #9


    i believe it took 10 ground workers to keep one airman flying on ratio , unsung heroes indeed, the things those lads must have dealt with saddens me respect george

  10. #10


    Daz if your Grandfather was MID I'm sure it would have been gazzetted so you should be able to start there?

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