Sunday, May 28, 2023

We Can Never Appreciate Enough What They Gave.

I ran across this picture a while back, and it hit home for me. It reminded me of someone I miss, one of the loveliest men I have ever known. He was my Grandfather's twin, my Great Uncle Rupert. I got to see Rupert almost every Christmas as a child, and he lived long enough for me to grow up enough to love and appreciate him as a young lady.

Rupert join the Scottish Air Patrol at the beginning of WWII and flew English channel & North Sea patrols. After the allied invasion of France his squadron was transferred to the Royal Air Force command and was assigned as gunner to a British Stirling Bomber Group.


Rupert flew 30 something missions over Nazi occupied territories, and 17 raids over Germany. When the war was over, now deaf in one ear, he went back to his trade of precision clock making. When Rupert died in 1997, of the 91 surviving members of his RAF Squadron after the war, Rupert was one of only 6 left.    
As someone who grew up surrounded by the blood soak battlefields of two world wars that to this day show their scars, I'm fully aware of what terrible things we are capable of, and can do to each other. 

Rupert spoke of the war in detail to me only once when I told him we were exploring the period in our studies. At times the pain of those years weighed heavy on his face. And one time turning away so as not for me to see. But what I saw in this gentle soft spoken man was someone who did what was necessary, and willing to die that I might breathe free. 

I just wonder now what Rupert would think of the juxtaposition of the world to which he climbed out of his bomber for the final time at the end of the war, and this world as it has become today. 

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