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Malta. July 1943. No. 3 (Kittyhawk) Squadron RAAF ground crew working at dusk on an aircraft.
Malta, July 1943.  No.3 (Kittyhawk) Squadron RAAF ground crew working on an aircraft
at dusk.  [AWM MEA0208]

By RAF Wireless Mechanic Eric Sykes
[Later a famous BBC Comedian.]

Wherever you walk, you will hear people talk,
Of the men who go up in the air.
Of the daredevil way they go into the fray;
Facing death without turning a hair.

They'll raise a big cheer (and buy lots of beer)
For the Pilot who's come home on leave.
But they don't give a jigger, for the Flight Mech., or Rigger,
With nothing but ‘props’ on his sleeve.

They just say, "Nice day" - and then turn away,
With never a mention of praise…
For the poor bloody Erk*, who does all the work,
And then orders his own beer - and pays!

They've never been told of the hours in the cold
That he spends, sealing Germany’s fate.
How he works on a kite, ‘till all hours of the night,
And then turns up next morning at eight.

He gets no rake-off, for working 'til take-off,
Or helping the aircrew prepare.
But whenever there's trouble, it's "Quick at the double!” 
The man on the ground must be there.

Each flying crew can confirm it as true
- That they know what this man's really worth.
They know that he's part of the Air Force's heart,
Even though he stays close to the Earth.

He doesn't want glory,
But please tell his story.  
Spread tuppence of his fame around.
One of only a few - so give him his due:



[*The slang expression ‘Erk’ came from WW1 banter about the working-class pronunciation of ‘Aircraftsman’.]

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