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The other verses I can repeat were these, the first for the bomb aimer and the other for the pilot:


I’m the boy that blows them to bits. Frankly, flying gives me the *****! (Then two lines I have also forgotten.)


And the pilot:


I’m the pilot, otherwise ‘Joe’. They take me wherever they go, Bremen, Emden, wherever they send ‘em, I try to keep in the flow.


There were a couple more general ditties we used to render in the late evening in the mess. The first contained something of a crack at our young contemporaries in civil life who had opted for an alternative to military service which was invented and offered by Ernie Bevin, the ex-Trades Union leader who was now Minister of Labour and National Service in Mr Churchill’s Government. The Bevin alternative was to enter the coal mining industry, for it was short of manpower and it was without doubt an essential industry to keep going. Once again, I recollect now only a little of the chant. It was the chorus which dealt with the ‘Bevin Boys’, as they came to be called and here is how the first verse and chorus went, all to the tune of ‘Clementine’.


Stooging round this isle of England With our petrol running low, How we’d love to see Full Sutton Through the nimbus and the snow.


Chorus:


Seventy Seven, Seventy Seven! Though we say it with a sigh, We’d rather work for Mr Bevin, Then we’d never have to fly!


But I suppose the pièce de résistance among our Squadron songs was the one we sang to the well-known army chant of ‘They Say There’s a Troopship Just Leaving Bombay.’ Our version went like this:


They say there’s a Hali just leaving the line, Bound for a dog-fight on high, Heavily laden with petrol and oil


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