Reaping the Whorlwind

Reaping the Whorlwind

We said farewell to a 96 year old today. He had been an RAF middle upper gunner during the 2nd World War and he had survived two tours over Germany. His sorties had been mostly at night. He joined the RAF aged 16 and was operating as a gunner on Lancasters just before his 19th birthday. His next door neighbour who had known him for a number of years didn’t even know that he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal which was presented to him at Buckingham Palace by King George for his bravery. He had never bragged about it. Today we celebrated not only his contribution to his family but also to his country. We released him into a blue sky to ‘reap the whorl wind’ one last time and although he took his bravery with him, his life will always be an inspiration. The whole thing had quite an effect on me.

The Bombers by Sarah Churchill

Whenever I see them ride on high,
Gleaming and proud in the morning sky,
Or lying awake in bed at night,
I hear them pass on their outward flight;

I feel the mass of metal and guns,
Delicate instruments, deadweight tons,
Awkward, slow, bomb racks full,
Straining away from downward pull,
Straining away from home and base

And try to see the pilot’s face,
I imagine a boy who’s just left school,
On whose quick-learned skill and courage cool
Depend the lives of the men in his crew,
And success of the job they have to do

And something happens to me inside
That is deeper than grief, greater than pride,
And though there is nothing I can say,
I always look up as they go their way,
And care and pray for everyone,
And steel my heart to say,
“Thy will be done.”