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 POEMS & SONGS 

Click any title to read the poem - most are illustrated and some have additional historical comments. 
Our most popular poems are highlighted.

[Jump to WW1 - WW2 - Postwar.]


A World War One Folk Poem...

- And a lucky charm that seemed to work!


Australian War Museum Relic No.33983: An Identification Bracelet with three 'good luck' charms:
1. Lucky Black Cat.   2. Silver FUMSUP charm (a play on 'thumbs up')  3. Boomerang engraved '
I GO TO RETURN'
Associated with Aircraft Mechanic Second Class ("2AM") /Instrument Fitter No.1478, Henry James MARSTON, 3rd Squadron, Australian Flying Corps.  
Henry Marston left for overseas service aboard HMAT Shropshire on 11 May 1917.  
On 22 November he proceeded to Bailleul, France where he was taken on strength by 3 Squadron.  
The FUMSUP dolls came with a poem:

"Behold in me the birth of luck, two charms combined:
TOUCHWOOD - FUMSUP.  
My head is made of wood most rare, my thumbs turn up to touch me there.  
To speed my feet they've Cupid's wings; they'll help true love 'mongst other things.  
...I'll bring good luck to all away- just send me to a friend to-day."

Henry narrowly escaped a serious accident on the Western Front in 1918.  
He was standing near the landing strip at his 3 Squadron (AFC) aerodrome when a British FK8 bomber tried to land.  
Unfortunately the aircraft crashed, igniting the bombs on board in a bright red flash, followed by a huge explosion.  
Finding himself unscathed, Henry immediately went to the aid of the FK8's Observer, who had been blown out of the cockpit by the blast.
Henry remained in Europe with 3 Squadron until March 3rd, 1919.  He boarded the transport ship Kaisar-i-Hind [Translation: "Emperor of India"]
on 6 May and disembarked in Melbourne on 16 June 1919, from where he was discharged.


WW1 POEMS:

For The Fallen
From which "The Ode of Remembrance" was extracted.
By Laurence BINYON, UK, 1914.
 

In Flanders Fields
A Poignant World War One poem.
By Colonel John McCRAE, Canadian Doctor.
 

The Dying Aviator
A drinking song from World War One.
By WW1 Airman Cecil MARKS.
 
 
A classic WW1 poem:
"An Irish Airman Foresees his Death"
By W. B. YEATS.
 

Epitaphs of War
The poignant connection between the famous Empire Poet Rudyard KIPLING and the "Missing" soldiers of WW1.
 

"Why Do You Cry?"

Describing the deep emotions of a relative visiting a war-grave.
By Ray JACKSON.



WW2 POEMS & SONGS:

High Flight
A classic poem capturing the joy of flying.
By John Gillespie MAGEE, Royal Canadian Air Force.
 

A Season of War
Reflecting on the Squadron's first fatality of World War Two, which occurred in 1939.
By Kevin SMALL (a noble Illawarra citizen).
 

Build Me No Monument
A young serviceman's sensitive thoughts on mortality in war.  Written in Syria 1941, by David McNICOLL.
 

"Safe and Well"
A humorous look at hazards in the Desert.  (1941)
By Lance Corporal Claude H. MAWBY, Australian 2/31st Infantry Battalion.
 
 
"There'll Always be a Squadron..."
Original WW2 transcript of one of the songs sung in the Pilots' Mess at El Alamein in 1942.
By an unknown 3SQN Pilot.


Three
A poem dedicated to No.3 Squadron RAAF.
By Tom RUSSELL (Flight Lieutenant & Kittyhawk Pilot 1942-43).
 

Were You There Then?

A WW2 pilot's personal feelings about the great mates that he served with.
By Tom RUSSELL.
 

Three Cheers for the Man on the Ground

A humorous poem written in 1942.
By Eric SYKES [WW2 RAF ground crew, and later a famous TV comedian].
 

The Ground-Strafer's Version of 'Lili Marlene'
A popular Song from the Pilots' Mess.
By Devon MINCHIN - RAAF 450 Squadron.
 

Confessions of a 'Clued-Up' D.M.T.
A driver's tale!
By Alex ARCHER (Driver Motor Transport).
 

Who Blew Up Agnone Station?
The mystery continues...
By Tom RUSSELL


Mates
A Prisoner-of War tribute.
By Duncan BUTLER (ex-POW, SE Asia).

 
"Northward to Thai"
A searing poem about the Thai-Burma Railway, 1943.
By "F.H.S."  [Unidentified POW Poet.]
Illustrated by Changi POW Artist, Des BETTANY.
 

Stalag 3 Poem
A defiant Prisoner-of-War ditty from the site of the "Great Escape".
By Canadian Air Force POWs in Germany.
 

ANZAC DAY
A moving tribute.
By Drewson HUNTER (2/12 Battalion, New Guinea).
 
 



POSTWAR POEMS & SONGS:


Our Fred... 85!
Commemorating the amazing WW2 Padre Fred McKAY.
By Tom RUSSELL

 
The ethereal song lyric "Brothers in Arms".
By Mark KNOPFLER, of the band Dire Straits 1982.
 

 "Forever Young"
Song Lyrics: Alphaville, c.1984.

 "Poppies."  Written 2004 by LtCol John Francis WILLCOCKS OBE MBE MiD.
A retired soldier.


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