TAKEN BY THE SKIES
The impact an active airfield can have on a community during war.
Multiple stories were told to me when I reached out about the airfield during the war years. RAF Fairford was built in 1944 and having already learnt that my family were forced to sacrifice their pub for its existence, I was curious to see how the rest of the community were affected. One memoire I stumbled across was an article written by Kempsford villager Jim Jefferies, who described details such as soldiers never returning for their uniform which was washed by local families, and the villagers lining up to wave the planes off. This account became the basis of the lyrical content for the track. Below is the local area before and after the construction of the airfield in 1944.
Look around you lads, you might be the last,
To walk amongst these trees to sits amongst the grass.
They're coming over the fields, machinery and man,
To make way for all their bombing planes to land.
At the bottom of the garden she calls out to her Jim,
A sterling standing tall upon where woodland should have been.
And with them come the squadrons in forces and in size,
Preparing for when the dreaded day arrives.
Oh little darling don't you wait for me, I'll come for me washing when it's clean,
But if I don't return this time, you'll know I've been taken by the skies.
A new day morns and they can see the scars,
Of arial acrobatics danced in the dark.
There's pride that fills her heart to see the men stand strong,
But oh to be a mother when all your kids are gone.
Oh mother dear don't you wait for me, come for me washing when it's clean
And if I don't return this time, you'll know I've been taken by the skies.
We are the ears, we are the eyes, we see the smiles but hear the cries.
See the flames from burning engines, streaming in the slipstream,
Feel the heat of each passing plane, burning oil, spent cordite and pain.
And if man says "I was at Arnhem, I will surely by him a pint".
Oh mother dear I am home, come for my washing is it clean?
But those who didn't return this time, God knows, been taken by the skies.