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“THE DYING AVIATOR”

A Tragi-Comic Drinking Song from WW1...


A young Aviator lay dying,
At the end of a bright summer's day
[Chorus of Erks*] …Summer's Day!

His comrades had gathered around him,
To carry his fragments away.

The crate was piled up on his wishbone.
His Lewis was wrapped ‘round his head.
...His Head!

He wore a spark plug in each elbow,
'Twas plain he would shortly be dead.

He spat out a valve and a gasket,
As he stirred in the sump where he lay
…Where he Lay!

And then, to his wondering comrades,
These brave parting words did he say:

Take the manifold out of my larynx,
And the butterfly-valve from my neck.
 …From his Neck!

Remove from my kidneys the camrods,
There's a lot of good parts in this wreck.

Take the piston rings out of my stomach,
And the cylinders out of my brain.
…His Brain!

Extract from my liver the crankshaft,
And assemble the engine again!

Pull the longeron out of my backbone,
The turnbuckle out of my ear.
 …His Ear!

From the small of my back take the rudder.
- There's all of your aeroplane here.

“I'll be riding a cloud in the morning,
- No engine before me to cuss.
 …To Cuss!

Shake the lead from your feet and get busy,
There's another lad needing this bus!

 

[*Erk = Aircraftsman.]

These lyrics are based on a song from the mid-Victorian era called "Wrap Me Up in My Tarpaulin Jacket" .
- The same foundation, apparently, as the popular Australian Folk Song:
"The Dying Stockman".

There are many versions of this popular song, but evidence has now emerged that it was originally penned before WW1 by a pioneering British aviator, Cecil MARKS, who gained R.A.C. Aviator's Certificate No.83 in 1911.
Sadly, Marks was
killed in action on 23 October 1915, flying a BE2c of 13 Squadron RFC over St Quentin, France. 
Interestingly, Marks’ Observer - William George
LAWRENCE, who is buried next to Marks, was the brother of T. E. Lawrence , "Lawrence of Arabia".

3 Squadron POEMS & SONGS

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