by cricketjeff on July 2, 2008. © Jeff Green, All rights reserved
At Mons he spotted guns from a balloon
He saw the Somme from high above the fight
When just a child he’d dreamt about the moon
Before the world was shrunk to modern size
He flew between two wings of wood and wire
An airscrew to attach him to the skies
A love of danger served to drive him higher
The Second War with submarines to chase
And then he showed “Short Hoppers” the Azores
He always knew the enemy to face
Bill Wilmshurst flew throughout the two World Wars
He must have had a history to tell
But Grandpa died before I knew him well
“Short Hoppers” Were American delivery pilots who flew bombers and flying boats across the various shortest hops to get to Britain during the Second World War.
W/Cdr F W Wilmshurst was my Mother’s father who joined the Royal Navy as a “boy” to learn to fly. He was seconded to the BEF in 1914 and earned his Mons Star at the First British action in 1914 and was still in action on VE day in 1945 by which time he was in charge of signals on the Azores.