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

The Birth of RAF Harwell Station
A.S. Howard with caricatures by Fred Young

01st April 1937


A motley selection of airman

Assembled quite early this year,

In order to open up Harwell

A place with no rations of beer.


They journeyed to Abingdon Station

And arrived about Wednesday midday,

And all pushed off out on the boozer,

Because Uxbridge had given them pay.


They explored the “Old Grapes” and the “Punchbowl”

And not going much on the beer

Decided to visit the pictures,

Where the seats were amazingly queer.


At 08.30 the following morning

They paraded and went for a ride,

And having seen RAF Harwell,

They stood at the Guardhouse and cried.


They wandered away to the storehouse,

And discarded their tunics with zest,

But they soon put them on in a hurry,

When they’d carried a mighty steel chest.


They worked until nearly 12.30

The assembled to eat a good meal,

Twas unfortunate for those poor airman,

The cooks had no meal to reveal.


However they kindly allowed each

A sandwich of “Bully” and cheese,

And when half past four came that evening,

The airman were all on their knees.


This procedure continued ‘till Easter,

When the powers that be at long last,

Decided to move up to Harwell,

And the airman could finish their fast.


All their baggage was carried up Thursday,

Their kitbags - suitcases as well,

They prepared for their sentence at Harwell,

The place where they’re long due to dwell.


We must pay the cook bags of credit,

For the way he served up our repast,

He certainly shook all the airman,

And made his pop’larity fast.


The sergeant in pay was a good chap,

He fixed up the lads with their pay,

And all the lads swear to this moment,

He’s the chap that they’re all out to slay.


The sergeant in stores was attempting,

The accountants rot shake with demands,

But accounts were not to be shaken,

And received them with wide-open arms.


The goods came in lorries by thousands,

The storeroom explained they could cope,

But had not it been for old “Lofty”

They’d have sat down and given up hope.


At last the rush hour is over,

And we can sit back and relax,

We have opened up RAF Harwell

Lead on Brass Hats! And striped slacks!


Understood to have been written by A.S. Howard who had been a friend of Fred Young who was sadly killed on the 12th July 1940 whilst serving with 58 Squadron. Fred drew the caricatures that featured within these pages.

(With thanks to Janice Betson who sent this to us August 2017 - the original was sent to the sister of Fred Young)

RAF Harwell A

RAF Harwell B

RAF Harwell C

RAF Harwell D

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 • Last Modified: 04 August 2017, 19:38