Daily Archives: July 11, 2014

The ‘Fitters’ Lament

March May 1944 ground crew

Many thanks to Dave for posting the following poem on the Bomber Command Research Facebook page today – I thought I would share it as a poignant thought to the boys in ground crew – as vital as the boys that flew, but I think in honest truth usually overlooked, in terms of their contribution to the success of the Bomber Squadrons.

On querying the origin of the piece Dave said that in truth he had found it a few years online under the title ‘The Riggers lament’, but felt it worked better for a fitter – if anybody out there knows anything more about this piece, I’d and I am sure Dave would like to know.

The ‘Fitters’ Lament
He wears a suit of faded blue, no brevet on his chest,
And you’ll find more streaks of grease and oil than medals on his breast,
He doesn’t sit behind the guns of a multi-engined ‘plane,
Or steer a graceful fighter above the cloud and rain.

He wields a hefty spanner and a bit of oily rag,
While the other fellow shoots the Hun and boasts about his bag,
He works in sleet and mud and rain and curses this senseless war,
And wonders ninety times a day what he joined the Air Force for.

He’s just an Engine Fitter,
Nothing more and nothing less,
With a suit of dirty blue instead of battle dress,
He strikes a blow at the filthy Boche with his honest British skill,
As sure as the man who aims the bomb or the gunner who makes the kill.

And now a brief musical interlude…….


I seem to recall about 9 months or so ago I was contacted by Margaret, Secretary of the UK Association with a request as to whether we could find the lyrics to a song the boys in 75(NZ) Squadron sang to the tune of ‘Lili Marlene‘. At the time there seemed to be no suggestions as to what these lyrics might have been. I am pleased to now say that thanks to Keith and his eagle eyes regarding the latest newsletter from the New Zealand Bomber Command Association, we now have an answer. Perhaps, mercifully for anybody in earshot, I am not familiar enough with said tune to even give this a go, but perhaps somewhere, someone might be able to put these words to music……….

“The Lancs of Mepal”
(sung to the tune of Lili Marlene)

The Lancs of Mepal, they’re on their way,
Off to bomb the Jerries, they bomb them every day,
And when they wish to show their might,
They bomb the sods by day and night,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75.

Off we go from briefing and leap into our kite,
Open up the throttles and roar into the night,
We’ve left the flare path far behind,
It’s bloody dark but we don’t mind,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75.

There’s the bloody searchlights waving round the sky,
Not much ruddy power and not too bloody high,
I hope they don’t start shooting till we’re through,
They may get me and they may get you,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75.

Now we’re through the target setting course for home,
Soon we’ll see the Sandra’s waving o’er the ‘drome,
That’s if we don’t go off the track,
And stop a crafty burst of flak,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75.

Junkers off to starboard, Focke-Wulf off to port,
Gunners calls to skipper, range is getting short,
Prepare to corkscrew starboard, go,
We know our stuff and we’re not slow,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75.

Now we’re in the circuit with a turn to land,
No intruders round us, ain’t it bloody grand,
We fooled the Hun once more tonight,
Dropped a load right on the Reich,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75.

When the war is over and there’s no more ops to do,
We’ll think of all our pals,
The one’s who did not get through,
The pals who were with us through thick and thin,
That we one day the War would win,
The Lancasters of Mepal, the Lancs of 75

To continue the agony, here is a YouTube movie of images of Marlene Dietrich to the song ‘lili Marlene’ – I’ll admit it, I gave it a go and it didn’t seem to quite work………

I thank you…………….


Sywell Airshow 17th August – 2 Lancasters and hopefully some crews….

sywell airshowcpd

Pauline has contacted me regarding an upcoming event that might be of interest to readers and also perhaps, of interest to anybody who  has the privilege of having a relative who flew in a Lancaster still with them.

“We have a biannual  airshow at a local aerodrome and it’s on this year in aid of the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.  It is called the  Sywell Great War Air Show.  Along with the Red Arrows and other planes, display stands etc. the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be there, plus The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster so there will be 2 Lancasters flying on the day (which is August 17th)
My husband was talking to the Air Show Secretary earlier this week and she told him that they were hoping to get as many people as possible who flew in Lancasters to the show this year. 
If anybody knows anyone who flew in Lancasters and is interested in attending they should contact the secretary, Kathy Putman at Sywell Aerodrome on 01604 491112″

Their address is:
Sywell Aerodrome,

The website is http://www.sywellairshow.co.uk