Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr. served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the years of 1940-41. He was an American born in Shanghai, China in 1922. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Gillespie Magee, were missionaries in the country. His father was a Reverend originally from the United States of America, and his mother was originally from England.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. first came to the United States in 1939. He had recieved a scholarship to Yale, but quickly decided that he was more interested in becoming a pilot. In 1940 he decided to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He graduated as a pilot that same year.

1941 was the year that would make Magee famous and also kill him. Magee was called to combat duty and was sent to England in July, 1941. A month or two later, he composed "High Flight" and mailed it to his parents in America. High Flight was not his only poem, but it is the only poem of his that became famous. The poem has become famous among pilots in the United States, Canada, and England, and can be foundhanging on the walls of most Air Training Schools in the countries. On December 11, 1941, he died in a plane wreck in England when the Spitfire he was flying crashed with another plane. He was 19 years old.