MAGEE, John Gillespie


rank: P/O
status: kifa
airforce: RCAF    (no: J5823 )
born: Washington USA

added by: kurtis

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Bio / Text:

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"American citizen born in Shanghai, China. He listed his residence as Washington, D.C., when he enlisted in the RCAF in October 1940. While training on Spitfires at 53 OTU he wrote "High Flight" for which he is best remembered. After completing his training at 53 OTU, he was assigned to the newly formed 412 "Falcon" Squadron, RCAF, at Digby. At age 19, P/O Magee was killed after his Spitfire Vb (AD291) collided with an Airspeed Oxford in clouds at low altitude on December 11, 1941. He is buried in the Scopwick Church Burial Ground, Lincolnshire, England." (source: Comment on A2A Simulations, link on the right)

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

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.


Squadrons add
RCAF 412 1941-12-01


P7856 VZ-E 1941-12-11


Comments / Questions:

reply: kurtis High Flight 2015-09-07 18:08:36

High Flight is a famous poem quoted extensively by aviation enthusiasts, it seems to capture the bond between aircraft and pilot, in particular the Spitfire as the vehicle that delivers the essence of flight.