The Dawn Patrol

Paul Bewsher (1894-1966)


This poem was published in a 1917 anthology titled A Treasury of War Poetry a compilation of group of works collected from British and American poets of the World War written between 1914-1917. Written by an RAF Lieutenant assigned to coastal reconnaissance in World War I. Paul Bewsher was a member of the Royal Naval Air Service from 1915 to 1918 and a member of the Royal Air Force from 1918 until 1919. He was shot down once and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during his career.

Bob Blair at the Poet's Corner explains that on June 14th 1919, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown took off from Newfoundland in a Vickers Vimy bomber. Sixteen hours later they were sinking but alive in a bog in central Ireland. The Dawn Patrol was written to commemorate these first men to fly the Atlantic in a fixed-wing aircraft. The celebrity of Alcock and Brown has been overshadowed by the solo heroics of Charles Lindbergh, but it is still impressive to imagine the two men taking off into the fog in a wood-and-cloth frame capable of a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour.

Sources:

Acknowledgments. Clarke, George Herbert, ed. 1917. A Treasury of of War Poetry:
http://www.bartleby.com/266/1001.html

Blair, Bob:
http://www.geocities.com/~bblair/000614.htm

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:
http://www.geocities.com/~bblair/seas_twp.htm#dawn

CST Approved

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