“BUSTER’S” BOMBER 

I have little trust, in fate or superstition

If religion is your soap box, it depends on what rendition

I have witnessed the strangest things, as through life’s twisted web I wander

Some things are, as they seem, but others make me ponder

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I was but a youth of seventeen, attending my first Dawn Service

They asked me to say the prayer, so I was somewhat nervous

I stood proud in my air force blues, spit polished shoes and all

When first light bathed the cenotaph, I felt ten feet tall

 

The bugle’s loud, but haunting notes, pierced the chilly air

The wreaths were laid upon the steps, with respect and utmost care

The anthem played, I made my salute and returned to join the crowd

While the autumn mist, slowly rose, like a lifting shroud

 

Then I heard it, far, far off from the east,

The sound of aircraft engines, like some struggling beast,

Closer, ever closer, till it was overhead

I gazed up and saw nothing, just fading stars instead

 

But just as swift, it was gone and I know this sounds absurd

I knew from wartime movies, it was a Lancaster I had heard

A voice then whispered in my ear.” I guess you heard it too

It’s “Busters” ghostly bomber, lost with all her crew”

 

Buster was my closest mate, we met while still at school

Loved dearly by his parents, he was his mother’s jewel

We looked after each other, of that there’s little doubt

And both joined the air force, when the war broke out

 

We learned to fly at “Quinty”, not far from Wagga town

In winter it was freezing, in summer, sunburnt brown

After mastering “Aggie” Anson, we set off in great haste

To do our advanced training, in Canada’s frozen waste

 

We ended up at Waddington a Lincolnshire bomber base

Where the beer was warm, the weather cold and everything arse about face

We flew near every second night, thirty ops made a tour

Bombing every city, based along the Ruhr

 

If we didn’t hit the target, we’d have to go back again

After three months operations, we were down to half our men

Replacements when they arrived, didn’t seem to be afraid

But we lost far too many, on their first “Big City” raid

 

Stress and strain took their toll, many had the shakes

But we carried on regardless, to prove, we still had what it takes

Our flying suits were heated, but we were always cold

Trapped in between the flak and the night fighters fold

 

I was well and truly time expired Buster was one trip shy

When they told us we were going home, to teach fledglings how to fly

Aircrew learn the hard way, never tempt your fate

But for poor young Buster, the warning came too late

 

He’d fly mission number sixty and roll the devil’s dice

But for this single act of valour, he would pay the highest price

I farewelled him at dispersals and went to catch my bus

That would take me to the troopship, no dramas and no fuss

 

I listened till his engines, faded to a hum

Remembering his final words “Give my love to mum”

We’d both catch up in this home town, on next Anzac Day

And remember all the mates who died, in that tragic fray

 

The loss of your closest friend, in war is nothing new

He disappeared off the Dutch coast, it was just as if he knew

He flies in from eternity, every single year

Knowing that in his soul, he’ll find me waiting here

 

By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
26 August 2021
Based on a true story

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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