TOUGH TIT, FRANK, OLD BOY !
Those who are old enough to have been around at the time will recall the RAF pseudonym for "Hard luck !" in the title. The verse is in memory of Frank Hart, a boyhood friend. At the time of his death he was piloting a Flying Fortress over Bergen, and was hit with bombs on. His death must have been mercifully swift - which is the only merciful aspect of it. The facts were, as I later learned from one of his friends in the same squadron, that the Americans had advised the RAF that the Flying Fortress which they had supplied for our use was a gun platform and bombing machine which was intended to operate at maximum ceiling, and to be long gone before enemy fighters could reach it. But our bigwigs knew better and decreed that the first bombing run was to be made at about half the recommended heights. And the result, his friend put it was this,
"We went in too low, and the ME's were in among us like flies !"
One's sometimes given to wonder who are a combatant's worst enemies . . .
Last night, for no good reason, I remembered him;
He'd have been forty-five today if they'd let him live,
Bent his father's back, whitened his mother's head,
When the news came through it seemed a squalid waste.
If it ever happens again, I'll tell my sons
GALLIA EST OMNIA DIVISA IN PARTES DUO