I’ve just finished reading “Enemy Coast Ahead”, written by Guy Gibson VC DSO DFC, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the man or the missions.
At the end, there is a very poignant comment made by Gibson following the Dams raid when the remaining eight of the original sixteen aircraft were returning home to Scampton. It made me think, and at this festive time, I leave you with his words which are abundant with significance. One related quotation, quite often attributed to Winston Churchill, but first used by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, reflect in Gibson’s own words.
“Why must we make war every twenty-five years? Why must men fight? How can we stop it? Can we make countries live normal lives in a peaceful way?” But no one knows the answer to that one.
The answer may lie in being strong. A powerful, strategic bomber force based so that it would control the vital waterways of the world, could prevent and strangle the aggressor from the word ‘Go’. But it rests with the people themselves; for it is the people who forget. After many years they will probably slip and ask for disarmament so that they can do away with taxes and raise their standard of living. If the people forget, they bring wars on themselves, and they can blame no one but themselves.
Yes, the decent people of this world would have to remember war. movies and radio records should remind this and the future generations of what happened between 1936 and 1942. It should be possible to keep this danger in everyone’s mind so that we can never be caught on the wrong foot again. So that our children will have a chance to live. After all, that is why we are born. We aren’t born to die.
A sincere thanks to everyone who has followed Aviation Trails. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very peaceful New Year.
“Enemy Coast Ahead”, Guy Gibson, Published by Goodall Paperback from Crecy Publishing, 1986 ISBN 9780907579625