PDA

View Full Version : Who wrote "I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth "


UPP
21st Aug 2005, 21:06
Who was the B.o.B pilot who wrote the poem that included the line;

"I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and touched the face of God"?

I think he was Canadian, but not sure. I know he was killed in the Battle.

Reason I ask is that I just heard the speech Ronald Reagan gave after the Challenger disaster in 1986, and that line was used. Everyone who heard it assumes it was by his scriptwriter, but it wasn't. I just want to tell the relevant BBC program who really wrote it.

Tempsford
21st Aug 2005, 21:10
High Flight by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee Junior, 412 Sqdn RCAF, Killed in Flying Accident December 11th 1941.

Temps

Davaar
21st Aug 2005, 21:12
He was American, too.

Bo Nalls
21st Aug 2005, 21:26
Full poem & bio here (http://www.skygod.com/quotes/highflight.html)

Maxflyer
21st Aug 2005, 21:26
Here it is:

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 windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

UPP
21st Aug 2005, 22:37
Thanks for your help chaps.

I was nearly right, then. RCAF, but an American flying with them.

Must admit, it does give a bit of a lump in the throat, reading it.

Message on its way to Aunty.

Regards

UPP

Just noticed that his sqaudron was activated 13 years to the day before I was born.

It\'s true what Churchill said about the Few.

(And I\'m half German, although you wouldn\'t know about it from the way my German mother rants about the Nazis.)

She was in the Hitler Youth, being a teenager at the time, and the only thing she is "bothered" about is the dambuster raid. She was in the area at the time and spent a lot of time for the next few days fishing dead civvies out of the water.

Overall she thinks the right thing was done.

In fact, to counteract that, she also said that when the British troops (who were the first to arrive in her home area) turned up, they had had quite enough of killing people, and were perfectly civil to all the inhabitants of her village, and went out of their way to get food and stuff for them, especially for the babies.

Then British garrison troops arrived, who were not real troops at all, and not of the same quality. She was kicked into the street by passing snotty-nosed kids. She was visibly pregnant at the time.

Order was restored when some more British front line troops were passing through and saw what was happening generally. They had a, um, "quiet little word" with the new boys, and no more trouble happened.

This was in a little place called Melle, near Osnabruck, which any old servicemen on here will know of.

Human Factor
21st Aug 2005, 23:05
He's buried at Scopwick near Digby in Lincolnshire alongside a number of airmen from both sides.

Secret Squire
22nd Aug 2005, 00:20
Can't remember who, but an American, flying under the Canadian Flag, in the RAF in the Battle of Britain wrote an enthralling book "Under the Wire", about his time fighting the Germans, and very long time as a PoW, and unless I am getting confused with another book I have read recently, served with said chap.

Even if a bit off topic, a brilliant read.

SS

mickjoebill
22nd Aug 2005, 03:28
The line was used in by President Regans script writer shortly after the Challenger accident.


Mickjoebill

Cornish Jack
22nd Aug 2005, 13:27
Tempsford
Ever the pedant, I'm afraid (me, that is!)
Not KIA; killed in a mid-air with a training Anson(?) piloted by a trainee LAC!!
Source - an article in Pilot magazine circa 1990.

Antoninus
22nd Aug 2005, 16:31
I may add that this poem was inspired to him by a flight aboard a Spitfire..
No other aircraft could do that..
There are other versions, like this one.. for chopper pilots.

Oh, I've slipped the surely bonds of earth
And hovered out of ground effect on semi-rigid blades;
Earthward I've auto'ed and met the rising brush of Non-paved terrain;
And done a thousand things you would never care to
Skidded and dropped and flared Low in the heat soaked roar.
Confined there, I've chased the earthbound traffic
And lost the race to insignificant Headwinds;
Forward and up a little in ground effect I've topped the General's hedge with drooping turns
Where never Skyhawk or even Phantom flew.
Shaking and pulling collective,
I've lumbered The low untresspassed halls of victor airways,
Put out my hand and touched a tree.

Van Der Vecken
22nd Aug 2005, 17:33
A friend in the old 'buzz' gave me this - apparently it was pinned on the crew-room wall in the last days before it was taken over by a certain major loco in 2003:

Low Flight

(with apologies to John Gillespie McGee Jnr)


Oh, I have slipped the gentle bonds of buzz
and danced the Irish jig to the Dutchmanís treacherous dirge
Hell-ward Iíve plunged, and joined the mortal dusk
of threat-lit fog and broke a hundred laws
you have not dreamed of

Grasped and clawed and sobbed
low in the deep black silence, crawling there
the screaming Banshee chased me down
and flung my weeping craft through tunnels of despair

Down, down the long chaotic night
Iíve plumbed the icy depths with trembling heart
where never love, nor even truth dare go
and while with silenced voice and shuttered mind
Iíve crept the vile, soiled path of fear,
reached out
and shook the filthy hand of shame




anon.

Tempsford
22nd Aug 2005, 21:28
Cornish Jack,

You are of course, quite correct. Apologies for my incorrect information. My original mail now amended to read 'killed in Flying Accident'.


Temps

harpy
22nd Aug 2005, 21:57
Magee was the son of missionaries working in China. His father was American and his mother British.

ShyTorque
22nd Aug 2005, 22:56
"Oh, I've slipped the surely bonds of earth
And hovered out of ground effect on semi-rigid blades;
Earthward I've auto'ed and met the rising brush of Non-paved terrain;
And done a thousand things you would never care to
Skidded and dropped and flared Low in the heat soaked roar.
Confined there, I've chased the earthbound traffic
And lost the race to insignificant Headwinds;
Forward and up a little in ground effect I've topped the General's hedge with drooping turns
Where never Skyhawk or even Phantom flew.
Shaking and pulling collective,
I've lumbered The low untresspassed halls of victor airways,
Put out my hand and touched a tree."

THAT'S WHY I'M GROUNDED BY THE C.A.D! :E

Flying Bear
23rd Aug 2005, 06:18
High Flight as specified by CASA...

Pilots must ensure that all surly bonds have been slipped entirely before aircraft taxi or flight is attempted.
During periods of severe sky dancing, crew and passengers must keep seatbelts fastened. Crew should wear shoulder belts as provided.
Sunward climbs must not exceed the maximum permitted aircraft ceiling.
Passenger aircraft are prohibited from joining the tumbling mirth.
Pilots flying through sun-split clouds under VFR conditions must comply with all applicable minimum clearances.
Do not perform these hundred things in front of Civil Aviation Safety Authority inspectors.
Wheeling, soaring, and swinging will not be attempted except in aircraft rated for such activities and within utility class weight limits.
Be advised that sunlit silence will occur only when a major engine malfunction has occurred.
"Hov'ring there" will constitute a highly reliable signal that a flight emergency is imminent.
Forecasts of shouting winds are available from AsA.
Encounters with unexpected shouting winds should be reported by pilots in accordance with AIP.
Pilots flinging eager craft through footless halls of air are reminded that they alone are responsible for maintaining separation from other eager craft.
Should any crewmember or passenger experience delirium while in the burning blue, submit an irregularity report upon flight termination.
Windswept heights will be topped by a minimum of 1,000 feet to maintain IFR minimum separations.
Aircraft engine ingestion of, or impact with, larks or eagles should be reported to CASA and the appropriate aircraft maintenance facility.
Aircraft operating in the high untrespassed sanctity of space must remain in IFR flight regardless of meteorological conditions and visibility.
Pilots and passengers are reminded that opening doors or windows in order to touch the face of God may result in loss of cabin pressure.

Antoninus
29th Aug 2005, 14:54
:D
HAHA! I love that one..