By Christer Bergstrom
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Additional resources for Jagdwaffe Vol.5,Section 2 War in the East 1944-1945 (Luftwaffe Colours)
No one told him the reason for the delay, but he guessed that there was some hitch in making ready the Lancaster ahead of him in the queue. m. – the signal at last. Instantly Cranswick set his bomber moving away along the broad ribbon of the dimly lit runway. He considered that he had had to idle away quite enough time already. The four 1,280-horsepower Merlins shrieked beneath the strain of maximum revs as the bomb-heavy Lancaster gathered speed down the concrete strip. The wheels parted company with the ground, and J-Johnnie climbed above the village of Offord, set snugly in a valley, and on across the Ouse.
The family lived in various furnished houses during term time and returned to Wiltshire for the school holidays to be with Alec’s father. It was there that Alec wrote his first poem; he was then just 6 years old. One of the family’s favourite spots was Savernake Forest, and often his mother would read poems to him while sitting in one of the leafy glades with the sun glinting down through the tall trees. It was in the quiet of these surroundings that his eagerness for poetry was fostered. A Forrest There is a haunted forrest; it stretches far and wide And on the very edge of it there runs a river wide.
The doctor turned up at the house wearing a deer-stalker hat and carrying a gun slung over his shoulder. The shooting could wait, but not the baby. Near the Cranswicks’ house the showmen were putting up their stalls ready for the St Giles’s Fair, so the boy’s arrival was heralded by the deafening crashes of hammering, clattering and assorted biffs and bangs that go along with such preparations. With the frightful noise and the sight of a gun in the house, there was something oddly prophetic about Alec Cranswick’s entry into a world that had not long since seen the end of one great war and that would see the start of another before he reached manhood.