Sunday, 26 January 2020

My Father and the Pathfinders

Neither belief nor disbelief are to be preferred. They are both delusions.


My father is very British. My grandmother disowned me as a teenager due to my waywardness, my grandfather was very loyal to me but was not my biological grandfather. My grandmother was a stern and hard woman, well regarded in the community, a magistrate.

My Father was sent to boys boarding school from a fairly young age, Stowe. That makes him a Stoic by tradition. He enjoyed it, despite breaking his back whilst he was there. He was disowned by his family for marrying a poor Jewish girl, daughter of an academic and well below his station. They were reconciled.

My real Grandfather died when my father was young. He was called Mr Curry and my Father knew very little about him until after his mother died and he found some old family papers through which he tracked down many cousins and other relatives he'd never known.

His father was a fighter pilot in the second world war, in the pathfinder squadron. In the early parts of the war the average British bomb was something like seven miles off target. This was partly due to bombers having to unload early due to heavy anti-aircraft fire but also due to how hard it was to bomb targets from the air.

The pathfinders, whose average lifespan was measurable in days I believe, were formed to help solve this problem. They flew ahead of the bombing raids, flying low and dropping flares on targets. After this the average distance of a bomb from the target went down to only a couple of miles I think. It was said they could land a flare on a target the size of a barn door.

My Grandmother spent the whole war certain he wasn't going to come back. He did come back, but then two years after the war he died as the copilot of a plane that crashed in a memorial parade.

Grandmother was then the single mother of two young children in post war Britain. My father still remembers rationing. She met John Foord and married him, he raised my father and his sister Jill as his own and had two more children with my Grandmother. He was a difficult man, hard to love, but he was good to me. My name is Michael John Foord.

That gentle flush of happiness
Rising effortlessly
Ending in a smile
And I smile back

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