Colin Ian Jeffery

Veteran Poet - 1,460 Points (20th May 1942 / Redhill Hospital)

Airgunner - Poem by Colin Ian Jeffery

My uncle Stan was a sergeant air-gunner on Wellington bombers during the Second World War, a tail gunner who flew twenty-three missions over occupied Europe, and six over Berlin. The life expectancy of a rear-gunner was seven missions.

Wellington bomber's engines roar
There is a stench of burning oil
In darkness the heavy plane rises.
No moon or stars but inky darkness
An icy cold chilling the soul.

Flying over the white cliffs of Dover
He fires his guns - - testing them
Ready for German fighters
Swooping like hawks against the bomber
Darting from the darkness guns blazing.

Over Holland they join other bombers
Flying in formation towards Germany
Searchlights seeking for them
With ack-ack shells colouring the night
Trying to bring the bombers down.

Fighters like angry hornets sweep in
As bombers reach Berlin
Path-finders have lit-up the target
And below all seems to be a sea of fire
Hitler's punishment for London's blitz.

Bomb-aimer takes control of the plane
Guiding the pilot over the target
Where he presses the plunger
Bombs drop screaming as they go
Exploding the factory making tanks.

The bomber makes two runs
Turns for home caught in searchlight glare
Illuminated for fighters and gunners
Too slow to climb beyond the light
Swept by German fighter machine guns.

Burning bomber reaches England
Pilot dying, crew bloody and afraid
Crash lands on its airfield
Rear-gunner pulled from his turret
Weeping, he survived another mission.

Topic(s) of this poem: war


Poet's Notes about The Poem

My uncle Stan was a sergeant air-gunner on Wellington bombers during the Second World War. He was a tail gunner and flew twenty-three missions over occupied Europe, and six over Berlin. The life expectancy of a rear-gunner was seven missions.

Comments about Airgunner by Colin Ian Jeffery

  • Shane Clawson Shane Clawson (10/5/2014 1:33:00 PM)


    HelloCollin,

    I viewed your video on the piece AirGunner which stands out to me. I enjoy how the story rises to a climax then you closed the poem with your uncle relieved he is alive. Good job!
    I'm not sure if your a Facebook user but there is a blog you should join called The Poetry, Blogging& Creative Writing Gang. (Report) Reply

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  • Words' Knight (8/23/2014 4:24:00 PM)


    When I red that poem, it reminds me of Sassoon, and Stephen Crane. Honestly, this poem is well writen. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Melliard Robert Melliard (6/9/2014 4:59:00 PM)


    You asked me in a message to read your latest e-book but as I haven't got time to do that I decided to read your last five poems instead. They are all full of deep thought and strong images, but I find this one, Airgunner, especially vivid. Congratulations. If you have time to read and comment on one or two of my poems I am always grateful for feedback. (Report) Reply

  • Kurt(sam) Hearth (4/30/2014 9:01:00 AM)


    Colin,
    I think you as I, write from what moves us. Not in accordance with any regulation or style. To me, if you read what I compose and enjoy the composition. Then I am a success.
    Sam Hearth, USNDV Ret (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poem Edited: Wednesday, August 24, 2016


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