“To Holland” by Roy Carter (RCAF) and Other Poems

To Holland

Out of the darkened sky, borne on my silken cloud
I came through the icy air, away from our engines loud.
The skipper so noble and brave had cried, “abandon the ship!΄ʹ
For he wished us all to save, to do many another trip.

Jerry had done his worst with instruments of war.
Now to get down to earth and come back at him for more.
So down to a haven in Holland, the land where peace once ruled
To these good friends so valiant who are not by the Nazis schooled.

They have given me their best, food, clothing, comfort like home,
Helping me back to England and to loved ones o`er the foam.
My thanks to you good people for this debt I cannot repay.
Here is a toast to Holland: “Good Luck for many a day! ʹ΄

-Roy Carter (Flying Officer, Royal Canadian Air Force)

Poem written by Roy Carter about now (June 23rd) 70 years ago.  He bailed out over The Netherlands, was arrested after some days caused by unlucky circumstances and in 1944 murdered by the Nazis in Aunt Coba’s safehouse in Tilburg, Brabant Province.

Roy evaded in The Netherlands after the June 16th crash of NA-514 and stayed at the
Vandenbroek home in Boekel.

Our thanks to Co de Swart for providing the poem and the information on Roy Carter.

RoyBoekelVDBroek3rev

THE CREW: SEVEN TRIPS
F/O GLENN BLACHFORD “SKIPPER” – Pilot (upper left)
F/O SPENCER LOUGH “SPARKS” -AIR BOMBER
F/O ROY CARTER “CLEM” – NAVIGATOR
Sgt. JOCK KENNEDY “JOCK” – ENGINEER (missing from picture)
Sgt. HARRY GOULD “SPEED” – REAR GUNNER (lower right)
Sgt. DON HATTEY “PANAMA” – MID-UPPER GUNNER
Sgt. TOM MASDIN “MOOSE” – WIRELESS OPERATOR (lower left)
THE KITE:
HALIFAX “B” BAKER EIGHT TRIPS

Crew in training. Clockwise from top left: Glenn Blachford, Spencer Lough, Roy Carter

___________________________________________________________________________

Briefing at Five

By Thomas B. Applewhite, Bombardier, 385th Bomb Group (Heavy), Great Ashfield, England, 1943

It’s cold inside at 3:00 A.M.

        When bare feet hit the floor.

It’s dark outside at 4 A.M.

        When you close the mess hall door.

It’s tense inside at 5:00 A.M.

        When the briefing table’s lit.

It’s foggy out at 6:00 A.M.

        Out where the bombers sit.

It’s cramped inside at 7:00 A.M.

        When you close the bomb bay doors.

It’s noisy out at 8:00 A.M.

        Over smiling English moors.

It’s quiet inside at 9:00 A.M.

        When you cross the channel ports.

It’s tough inside at 10:00 A.M.

        When the ship in front aborts.

It’s flacky out at 11:00 A.M.

        When on the bombing leg.

It’s bad downstairs at 11:15

        When the bombers lay their eggs.

It’s brisk inside at 1:00 P.M.

        And also brisk at 2:00.

One ship’s down and one lags back;

        The escort’s over due.

It’s tired inside at 3:00 P.M.,

        It’s tired and sore and stiff,

It’s glad within at 4:00 P.M.

        Over chalky Dover’s Cliffs.

It’s quiet inside at 5:00 P.M.

        When your bunkmate’s puppy whines;

It’s tired inside at 6:00 P.M.

        Where the combat crews all dine.

It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s tense, it’s brisk,

        It’s tired all through and through;

It’s quiet, it’s loud, it’s war, it’s risk,

        And we’re up tomorrow, too.

(Published in The Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society Fall 2001 Communications, vol. 15, no. 4, Sept. 21, 2001.)

Other Poems