Comrades – Ken Moore

On ANZAC day, I thought it was fitting to re-post this poem. It felt a little strange, almost uncommfortable to be removing the airmen from the Roll of Honour to present a purely RNZAF and RAAF list for my previous ANZAC day post, so perhaps to make amends and remind us that the boys flew and died together, irrespective of their nationalities I represent ‘Comrades‘, by Ken Moore.

New Zealand gave a Squadron of Planes
When Britain’s need was dire
Both countries sons made up the crews
And they flew through hell and fire.

To the Pommy lads the Kiwi’s made
A gesture that was grand
They gave them honorary citizenship
Of their own beloved land.

Under New Zealand’s flag, they proudly flew
Comrades of the air
They lived and died, as side by side
Fate’s lot they chose to share.

In Wellingtons, Stirlings, then Lancasters
To the foe, they took the flight
On wings they soared through Europe’s skies
In the darkness and the light.

But a heavy price, the Squadron paid
In five long years of strife
Of those who flew with “75”
One in three, laid down their life.

On the East Coast of Old England
The crumbling airfields stand
Where aircraft once left mother earth
Tractors till the land

The era of the Bomber war
Came, paused, then passed away
But the bond between two nations sons
Unchanged, will ever stay

Ken Moore, Waterlooville. 2.3.80

10 thoughts on “Comrades – Ken Moore

  1. weggieboy

    The photo is unique among photos I’ve seen, anyway, of squadrons. Seems the bomber typically is a backdrop to a particular crew, and the larger unit is posted without a bomber. Interesting!

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    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      I think its a function of the size of the Squadron – particularly by the end of the war – 75(NZ) had 3 flights – my understanding was that usually the creation of a ‘C’ flight was the precursor to the formation of a new squadron – the ‘C’ flight forming an initial nucleus of a/c and crews. The Squadron’s ‘C’ flight was formed and never left. By the end of the war, I think each of the 3 flights probably had about 20 a/c each and enough crews to almost provide a ‘raid on raid off’ rotation – a function I think of the training system working at full capacity and the (relative) reduction in aircrew casualties. There are 341 men in this picture!

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  2. Chris Newey

    A photo caption from Clive Estcourt (A/B Layton crew) on his copy of this photo states that when he joined 75 (NZ) Sqdn in June ’44 there were 35-38 crews in the Squadron, and that when he left in March 1945 (when this photo was taken), there were at least 72 crews.

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