Hate to see you have to go

“The experienced had little pity to spare for the newcomers in the mess. Statistically, seven or fourteen or twenty-one of us have to die tonight, so please God, let it be the nervous young face in the corner whom I do not know, rather than Harry, Bill or Jack laughing at the bar, who are my friends. Thus their jokes . . . . It was part of their defenses against their own fear, of the schoolboy immaturity that was always close to the surface among so many young men of eighteen, nineteen and twenty, who still thought it the greatest sport in the world to pull somebody’s trousers off after dinner. It was this same feather-light tread of youth that enabled so many thousands of their generation to fly for Bomber Command through six years of war, amidst the terrible reality that, statistically, most of them were dead men.” – Max Hastings, Bomber Command

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