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Poetry of Direct Personal Experience
Our Collection of Aviation and Military Poetry

Requiem For A Rear Gunner
William Clapham

And should you weep for him, if so inclined,

Then mingle knowledge with your gift of tears,

Bare not your heart alone - unveil your mind

Upon the history of his nineteen years.


He kicked a ball in narrow London streets,

Then pedalled groceries round Walthamstowe.

He learnt of love in cheaper Gaumont seats,

Set it to jazz-time on his radio.


He had a wife for seven magic nights,

His eyes grew softer in a small hotel.

They shared a dream of London, rich with lights

And all the things that Woolworths has to sell.


Against his shaggy head he brushed a sleeve,

Within the barber's shop considered 'pride'.

Bought contraceptives in the hope of leave,

Then flew to Nurnburg that night and died.


Written by William Clapham

In memory of Fl/Sgt. Wiliam Paterson Clapham

Killed on Halifax III LV923 ZL-M on the 31st March 1944

Fl/Sgt. Wiliam Paterson Clapham

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 • Last Modified: 19 July 2019, 17:41