In 1941, a 19 year old Spitfire pilot, John Gillespie Magee Jr. wrote High Flight.

A few months later he was killed.

Take a few moments to remember.


High Flight

 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.



Ground staff refuelling a Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIA of No. 19 Squadron RAF at Fowlmere near Duxford in Cambridgeshire September 1940.

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