A Socialist Airman’s Farewell

On VE day, we republish a letter from a British socialist pilot who died fighting the Nazis – a sacrifice he made for a world free not only from fascism but poverty, oppression and 'the evils inherent in the capitalist system.'

I am writing this letter so that it may be posted to you in the event of my failing to return from an operational trip. However, should this be my fate, try and hope that future generations will benefit from the efforts of all who have given their lives in this war.

I have never regretted joining up, because I have always had a good time and greatly appreciated the comradeship of all I have come into contact with. It is the spirit of comradeship and the element of danger which makes flying so appealing, although it is often frightening.

I am not afraid, and yet I do not want to die so young, without first seeing what beauties the world has to offer. Yet, if death is for me, then let it be fighting for the ideals and principles in which I firmly and unshakably believe, and to which I rigidly adhere.

These principles and ideals are to help to drive away the Nazi menace, so that all free peoples, wherever they may be, will be able to voice their opinions without suppression, in a sadder, wiser and much saner post-war world, and so that I, should I have been alive, would help to bring about a system of society in which greed, poverty, oppression, wars and all other evils which are inherent in the vile and rotten capitalist system which governs the world today are abolished, once and for all.

When the sun sets, and set it inevitably must, a new day will dawn in the world; and out of the carnage, debris and turmoil there will, let us hope, emerge a new order which will transcend anything the world has ever known. Therefore, I say that my life will not have been taken in vain, for I shall have played my part to crush the aggressive nations, so that the luckier and more fortunate people who think as me, will emerge triumphantly from this gigantic chaotic upheaval, proudly, bearing the flag of real freedoms and real democracy, and prove by their deeds that, unlike the heroes of 1914-1918, who gained very little for their efforts, the fellows who will not see the termination of hostilities will not have given their lives in vain.

It would have been easy to obtain a ground job, but I chose to fly, because someone had to do our particular job, and if everyone left it to others no-one would have ever got anywhere.

Goodbye, and again thanks for everything.