Lest We Forget: An Airman’s Prayer

‘Bus’ Davey, was my Father’s brother. He was born on November 25, 1921 in London, Ontario.

He enlisted in May, 1940 at the age of 18 because he had a good background in mechanics and wanted to fly in the Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.). Perhaps to him, war represented an adventure, or it was a chance to protect freedom. Perhaps he served because his father, George Davey had joined the Army when the First World War began. Imperial bonds were strong then. So was a sense of duty. So was poverty and joining the war meant three square meals a day, uniforms and travel.

My Grandfather, George Davey, was part of the London 1st Battalion and was sent overseas and was thrown into the Battle of Ypres in 1915. Whatever illusion he had about the glamour of war must have been shattered in the trenches with the carnage and brutality that existed in no mans land. A German bullet hit George in his chest and his wound was so critical he was not expected to live.  He did recover sufficiently in Wales where he met Selina, my Grandmother and they began their family in London, Ontario.

On his last visit home before going overseas, Bus gave his sister a letter and asked her not to show it to his mother until after he left.

 

Death came to “Bus” on October 2, 1944, when the plane he was flying crashed. Here is the poem he wrote:

 

AN AIRMAN’S PRAYER

 

Almighty and all present power,

Short is the prayer I make to Thee;

I do not ask in battle hour

For any shield to cover me.

 

The vast unalterable way:

From which the stars do not depart,

May not be turned aside to stay

The bullet flying to my heart.

 

I seek no help to strike the foe,

I see no petty victory here;

The enemy I hate, I know

To Thee is dear.

 

But this I pray; be at my side

When Death is drawing through the sky;

Almighty God who also died.

Teach me the way that I should die.

The late F/O E.R. Davey, 404 Squadron R.C.A.F.

 

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21 thoughts on “Lest We Forget: An Airman’s Prayer

  1. I don’t exactly know why, but that brought me to tears.

    Skipping my emotional response, perhaps an Archives/Museum would like a copy of that poem. I have worked/volunteered at two Archives/Museums and I would guess that such a piece would be very much appreciated, especially if it were donated/if your uncle was from a small community.

    Randy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well Randy, just hearing from you makes me a bit misty. Discovering this piece as part of my heritage was pretty powerful – on many levels. Thanksfully this piece has been published in a few generals, either related directly to the Squadron he fought in, as well as the young men from small town Ontario that, well, they did make the ultimate sacrifice. I hope you are well and I miss you. xo Harlon

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    1. And thank you Kelly for spending some time with me on this blog. Thank you for your kind words and this post was powerful for me, it took the whole notion of Rememberance day to a new level, but ultimately, I think we can agree, that war is good for absolutely nothing. Peace, Harlon

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  2. Thanks for that memories, Harlon.
    Sometimes I was wandering to Ypres (Belgium) where there is a giant monument for the dead soldiers of this battle in the First Worlwide War.
    Some red flowers are picked up near the inscriptions of all the names of Canadian, British men ant others who where shooted when they came in France to struggle for liberty.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Isabel, your comment means a lot to me. I think it is important that we continue to share the stories from the past so that we just might learn from them and create a better future. xo Harlon

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