Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I‘ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr
On Saturday we received the terrible news that a Lynx helicopter had crashed with five fatalities. The news hung over Hagar and I, this weekend, as the story unravelled. It’s a chilling reminder of the fragility of our lives. Within the community the news of the fallen hits us hard. Especially when it touches us so closely. Hagar was stationed at RAF Odiham for 7 years. He knew the pilot. Not well, but they had worked together on occasion. On Sunday, Hagar posted High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr on his Facebook page in loving memory. It is a beautiful response to the tragedy. It’s always hard to confront the reality of losing colleagues, friends, peers; especially for those who fly and face the daily dangers. I sit on the sidelines and watch; but I feel it too in some way. All the years of holding my breath, waiting for the danger to safely pass. Each trip and each safe landing brings internal relief that we can move forward through another day. Always living life, one day, even one step at a time. My thoughts are with the friends and families of those men killed in the Lynx on Saturday.
May they rest in peace.
Capt Thomas Clarke
WO2 Spencer Faulkner
Cpl James Walters
L/Cpl Oliver Thomas
Flt Lt Rakesh Chauhan