Air tactics



Air tactics


Poem written in the Far East by Flying Officer D F Page, a 17 Squadron pilot.





One typewriten sheet


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[underlined] AIR TACTICS. [/underlined]
[underlined] Written in the Far East by Flying Officer D. F. Page, a Pilot of No. 17 Squadron. [/underlined]
Oh Mary now flying ‘tis wonderful fun,
And every young pilot a son-of-a-gun:
Yet for all that me darling’ I’d far rather be
With a glass in me hand and yerself on me knee.
If ‘tis fightin’ and flyin’ ye’d be hearin’ about
Then tell ye I will if ye’ll bring me a stout:
For me pockets are empty, me throat gets so dry
When I’m givin’ the griff, and with never a lie.
When bandits are spotted above or below,
Don’t flap in a panic and yell tally-ho:
First think the thing over and size up the scene,
The pros and the cons if ye see what I mean.
There’s the size of the foe, disposition and height,
His speed and direction, the type of his Kite:
The target intended, yer numbers and juice:
Consider them all and beware of a ruse!
Discretion is valour, and glory a fraud:
If there isn’t a chance make your peace with the Lord,
Or get out and begone just as fast as you can,
For it isn’t the fool who’s considered the man.
But havin’ decided the odds worth a crack,
Then swiftly decide on yer form of attack:
And as equally swiftly get on with the job,
Yet never forgettin’ the rest of the mob.
Now whilst ye’re approachin’ yer victim to be
No time for sweet thoughts of yer popsy and me.
For ‘tis those precious seconds ye vitally need
Estimatin’ the range, the deflection and speed.
But don’t let that stop ye from weaving me lad
With yer eyes all around, or it may be too bad
If ye’re jumped by some stranger goin’ bats out of Hell
Whilst ye’re solely intent upon ringin’ the bell.
Press home yer attack till the rear-gunner’s ears.
Can be seen as they pale in response to his fears,
Then halve that short distance on pressin’ the tit
With yer top needle control and eye brows well knit.
And as fast as your bullets were wendin’ their way
Just as violent and fast must ye break right away
In the same partin’ second ye turn off the lead,
Or ‘tis not only they who’ll be joining the dead.
Oh Mary, now fightin’ ‘tis wonderful fun,
And every young pilot a son-of-a-gun:
Yet for all that me darling’ I’d far rather be
With a glass in me hand and yerself on me knee.



D F Page, “Air tactics,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 21, 2024,

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