Top left - poem - cheers for the men on the ground by E Sykes 1942. Six verse poem about forgotten ground crew compared to those who fly. Top right - a reply to Mr Sykes ode (newsletter No 26) by 'Bif' Baker (No 18). Letter putting Mr Sykes to rights about those who flew. Bottom left - poem - Odd ode to an imaginary crew by Bill Baker DFC (No 18). Poem about bomber aircrew. Bottom right - painting of a Lancaster with letters 'EM-K.



Temporal Coverage



Three printed documents and one coloured painting mounted on an album page


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by E. Sykes, 1942

Where ever you walk
You'll hear people talk
Of men who go up in the air
For the dare-devil way
They go into the fray
Facing Death with out turning a hair

They'll raise a big Cheer
And buy lots of Beer
For pilots that are going on leave
But they don't give a jigger
For the Flight Mech. or Rigger
Who has nothing but froth on his sleeve.

They just say 'Nice Day'
And then turn away
With never a mention of praise
But the poor bloody erk
Who does all of the Work
Just orders his own beer, and pays.

Its never been told
The hours in the cold
That he spent sealing the Germans fate
How he works on a kite
For all hours of the night
And turns up each morning at eight.

He gets no rake-off
For working to take-off
Or helping the aircrew prepare
When ever there's trouble
He's quick at the double
The men on the ground must be there.

Each flying crew
Will tell it to you
They know what this man's really worth
They know he's just part
Of the R.A.F.'s heart
Even though he stays close to the earth.

He doesn't want Glory
But please tell his story
Spread a bit of his fame around
He's one of the few
But give him his due
Three Cheers for the Men on the Ground.

[page break]

A Reply to Mr. Sykes' Ode
(Newsletter No. 26)
by 'Biff' Baker (No. 18)

Dear Mr. Sykes,
I must put you to rights,
About your view of those who flew.

After the target, we'd turn around
Thanking them on the ground,
'cause the Kite was sound
And to look forward to a 'Friendly Greeting'
From them, still around.

Remember the jocular ruckings we got if we turned up late,
Plus a few shell and bullet holes and sometimes – a dead Mate?

Remember also oft' at standown,
We went into town, a few pints to down
to the Pals we'd lost,
And our Ground-crew invited, at no extra cost?

So, please be fair,
When you say – those up there
Didn't care, 'bout those down there.

Also remember, we were all in it together,
In spite of your frozen shifts and soaking weather.
Medals – eggs or perks,
Officers, Ground-crews, W.A.A.F.s and of course, the Erks
Air-crews and such – So Thanks Very Much'.

[page break]

[inserted] THE WICKENBY NEWSLETTER. MARCH 1990 [/inserted]

by Bill 'Biff' Baker DFC (No. 18)

'Where are we, Navigator’, Captain cried.
'Haven't a clue', he replied
'Try him at rear, his view is clear'
'No good' said Skip, 'He's all snug and warm; having a kip'.
'Well, there's him on top, he'd take a look'
'What, interrupt him, reading his porno book?'
'Then try the WOP, he's a good chance,'
'But WOP, didn't hear, he were tuned into Vic Sylvester and dance.
'Ah! the engineer, he's always awake,'
'Not now Skipper – It's me tea break.'
Then up spoke bomb-aimer, shivering in his combs,'
'What'll I do with all these flipping bombs?'
'Let 'em all go,' cried Skipper in dire distress
'What, down there – we'll blow up our ruddy Mess'
Some time later, collecting gongs galore, King said
'What's this lot for – I've no citation'
But trust our Skipper, who said 'They are for'
'Esprit da corps and ruddy good navigation.'

(With acknowledgements to Mr. Cyril Fletcher) [inserted] WHY? [/inserted]



“Poems,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/36050.

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