Relics of the Heart 5…

So, kind of a long one here. It’s about a night-time air raid.
It seems to be written from the perspective of a soldier on a military base
It talks about a japanese fighter-bomber making a run
I apologize before hand for some of the racial slurs
but, if you’ve ever studied anything about WW2 propaganda you will know that it was a big part of it

So here it is, and I’ll make some notes about some references of which you may not be familiar

Untitled

In the evening when no lights can be lit
On our bunks in the dark we sit
We sit and talk of the days work done
Wishing this war was over and won

One by one we go to bed
listening to the drone over our head
“is it ours? or is it a Jap?”
we’d like to know and get a nap

of course it’s ours you can tell by the drone
it doesn’t have a washing machine tone
He’s our night fighter, just like a dove
While we sleep, he protects from above

We fall gently into our sleep
then jump up suddenly! “Hell, it’s only a jeep.”
So we go back where we started from
wish it were over, no more to come

There we lie awhile ill at ease
cussing the Nazi and Japanese
After a while we snooze off again
But he’s bound to come, who knows when

A few hours of rest, then we hear a scream
but it’s none we know, it’s a damn sirene
For a fraction of a second we sit spell bound
Then we realize what’s up, we’re fox hole bound

With one hand we throw our blanket back
and grab for our shoes behind our back
scooping up our heavy helmet too
we blindly grope our dark way through

With a push and a shove, we rush through the door
Everything is in our way, and then some more
Finally go through, one by one
and knowing it’s not all in fun

Reaching our entrance we stand by the hole
ready to jump in and crawl like a mole
looking into the sky with our ears turned back
Hoping To-Jo’s not on our track

All of a sudden, the beams go up
not knowing when those eggs will drop
into our fox hole we dive with speed
the ack goes up to do its deed

We hear the seish of bombs in flight
and then we yell, “Hell’s broke loose tonight”
he misses his target, but it was a close call
we hope and pray, tonight that is all

In our shelter we shake, from head to foot
shrapnel flying, don’t need to look
Concussion rolls one end to the other
You catch a breath, then wait for another

When finally the ack takes a rest
It’s up to the night fighter, he’s put to the test
The Jap is still up there, He’s trapped in the light
Our fighter’s got him in his gun sight

Here it’s a test of speed and drive
If our fighter misses, he’s not alive
Four fifties and a cannon blaze high
knocks the yellow devil from the sky

We climb from our hole and give a cheer
for the devil won’t see a new year
If they value their lives, they’d better stay clear
If they ask for mercy, they’ll get none here

the beams go out, then comes “All Clear”
we climb in our cots, so cozy and near
we lie on our cots, our shoes on our feet
(a little precaution, before going to sleep)

When we think of you civilians, we envy you
You can’t realize the hell we go through
So when there’s a bond drive, remember us
shell out those dollars, and don’t make a fuss

This is just a little, we must go through
we could write pages and then some too
We say a prayer and try and sleep tight
Please don’t forget us, we close with goodnight

END

So the first thing I come across is “Night Fighter”
During the war, there were special planes that were used for operations at night
they began using radar to help them locate targets

The siren they hear is most likely an air-raid siren. It has a distinctive sound:
Air raid siren

the references to bunks and blankets and boots and foxholes serve to show this is a military base somewhere..probably in the UK.

To-Jo is a reference to Hideki Tojo
200px-Hideki_Tojowho was a general in the Japanese army and eventually became prime minister of japan
He ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor

“The beams go up” and “The Ack”
Of course, during night raids, massive spot lights
dca were used to try to find the enemy planes and keep them in the light for night fighters and ground batteries to shoot at them.

The ACK was this:
article-2172909-140AA7AF000005DC-343_964x731The anti-aircraft gun…or AA…and when spoken about over communications or referred to by officers the term “Ack Ack” was applied to make it clearer than saying, “A A”

Seish, I’m not sure about…I think it is the author’s attempt to describe the sound of falling bombs? I insert words to stand in for sounds in my work too…so I think I understand.

“Four fifties and a cannon blaze” almost surely a reference to the night fighter’s armament:
4 –  50 caliber browning Aircraft Machine Guns and an M4 Cannon

After an air raid was over an “All clear” sound was given.

Bond drive: During WW2, American Civilians could purchase war bonds, which was basically a loan of money to the government. You could purchase $25 of bonds for $18 and in ten years you brought it back to the war department and got your $18 back plus $7 profit.

This was a long one, so it’s the only one for this week. But it gives us an amazing window into the life of a soldier on a military base during the war…and the daily hazards they face being on the front lines.

This still could be ANYONE writing this piece so no further to figuring out who actually owns this journal.

Thank you all for being here! ❤

Always,

ERIC

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About Eric

Writer/Plumber/Poet/Father/Gentleman/Romantic
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20 Responses to Relics of the Heart 5…

  1. Elizabeth Helmich says:

    Whoa, the intensity, and details off this are so good, I feel like I’m right there in that fox hole. Fascinating, and as always, it’s very helpful to have your extra details (though I understood most of this one, surprisingly). I would never, EVER wish to hear that siren. It’s quite distinctive, I can only imagine the dread it filled you with to hear it.

  2. Rita says:

    Eric, this is an amazing piece of personal history. Chills to think of the soldier in his bunk with his boots on, prepared to dive into the bunker.

  3. maharedwynn says:

    This is all so fascinating! So glad you’re sharing it with us and doing the research to help it all come to life. Thank you!

  4. VictoryInTrouble says:

    Wow, the life of a soldier at night. I can’t imagine they got any good sleep. Thank you for sharing and pulling out details for us to understand better. 🙂

  5. Eric, this is brilliant. You do pull us in and plop us down right in the middle of it all. I experience your writing on such a sensory level but the thing that touches me the most is your compassion and kindness towards your readers. You are teaching and reaching. Thank you!

  6. This is awesome Eric, you are a soldier of your own :#0

  7. This is such a treasure. A glimpse into the life of a soldier. The poetry is wonderful. And your background research makes it all so real! Thanks, Eric!

  8. mandibelle16 says:

    Very cool. I liked the poem today, it was very well done. It makes me wonder if anyone fighting ever knew on any day if they were going to make it out alive. Death was just more prevalent, and bombs from the sky, you don’t always know where they’ll land. Talent or skill, sometimes I think in war, those things didn’t matter. The war bonds at the end were interesting. Thanks

  9. Emily says:

    Amazing, as always, Eric. Thank you so much for documenting this for us! A raw glimpse into the bloody and terrifying reality of war. No wonder ptsd is so strong for veterans. It’s truly an irreplaceable record of an incredibly important time in history. I do even feel like a book could be written about this book, and hell…maybe even a historic romance on the big screen…the mystery is great! 🙂 ❤

  10. moonskittles says:

    Thrilling and fascinating.. with a tinge of helplessness. Loved it!

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