Thursday, July 18, 2013
WW2 poet and his bomber crew at rest at last.
From the BBC
These men knew moments you have never known,
Nor ever will; we knew those moments too,
And talked of them in whispers late at night;
Such confidence was born of danger shared.
We shared their targets, too; but we came back.
-- David Raikes, pilot and poet
One evening in April 1945, four young men took off on a mission to attack a bridge on the River Po, then carry out a wider reconnaissance.
If they could have survived just 10 more days they would have seen the Allied victory in Italy.
And with the coming of peace in Europe shortly afterwards, their lives would have stretched out before them.
But they never returned from their mission. It is believed their plane was brought down by German anti-aircraft fire, and that everyone on board died in the crash.
Three of the flyers were British - the pilot, Sergeant David Raikes, the navigator, Flight Sergeant David Perkins, and the wireless operator and gunner, Flight Sergeant Alexander Bostock. They were all aged 20.
The crew's other gunner was an Australian - Warrant Officer John Hunt, of the Royal Australian Air Force - who was a year older.
The wreck of the plane was found by an Italian group called Archeologi dell'Aria - amateur enthusiasts who have so far found 16 missing aircraft.
Now, 68 years after they were killed, the crew is being laid to rest at a Commonwealth war cemetery in the city of Padua.