WWII Fighter Pilots' Drinking Song

These are the lyrics to a song my father (Gus Watts Allen III) used to sing when I was a kid. It drove my mother crazy! She didn't appreciate black humor, to say the least. A few years ago, I asked Dad to sing it to me again, so that I could transcribe the words.

I have since seen other versions of the lyrics around the web, most notably as a WWI version which was sung in the movie, Dawn Patrol. I've never seen it, so I can't tell you if the melody's the same or not.

As you can see, it's a pilot's song. My dad flew with the Pioneer Mustangs, 355th FS, 354th FG, the first fighter group to fly the P-51 Mustang in the European Theater of Operations in WWII.

A young aviator lay dying
At the end of a bright summer day.
His comrades are gathered about him
To carry his body away.

His airplane was piled on his wishbone,
His Hotchkiss was wrapped 'round his head,
A valve stem stuck out of each elbow,
'Twas plain he would shortly be dead.

But he spat out a valve and a gasket,
And stirred in the  sump where he lay,
Then to his wondering comrades
These brave dying words he did say:

"Take the magneto out of my stomach,
Take the cylinder out of my brain,
Take the piston rod out of my kidney,
And assemble the engine again,"


Stand to your glasses steady,
This world is a world full of lies,
Here's a toast to the dead already,
And "Hurrah" to the next man who dies!

I'm still searching for the rest of the lyrics, if there are any, and hoping that some members of the 354th FG will let me know if I've missed any. Check back again soon to see the updates!

Live Bait!
WWII Memoir by Clayton Kelly Gross of the354th Fighter Group, 355th Fighter Squadron!

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