In Memory of Sergeant Pilot Ken Roberts.


152 Sqdn service no.655773

Killed in Action on 20th March 1943


Spitfire Pilot.


This is a tale of a local lad

Who was born at a time when things were bad.

And the only thing certain for a lad of his time,

Was a life in the mill or work down a mine.

He did well at school, but being no fool

Knew that jobs were not easy to find.

And it wasn’t quite heaven as one of eleven,

With ten brothers and sisters to mind.

With money so short he’d only one thought,

Helping his dad and his mother.

That was the ways of the young ones those days.

A home loving son and a brother.

It’s now thirty-eight, the worlds in a state

And Europe’s about to close down.

But Ken has no cares; he’s collecting the fares

On a bus as it goes around town.

Tho’ the wages were small he felt ten feet tall,

As at last in life he had a role.

But as in the past the job didn’t last

And it looked like he’d be on the dole.

It’s never been clear where he got the idea

But he went and he joined the T.A.

It wasn’t a move many folks would approve,

When war was a few weeks away.

In their Uniforms brown they’d march up and down

Slapping their guns on their shoulders.

Folks watched for a while and then with a smile

Would call them the ‘Saturday night Soldiers.’


When the muck hit the fan and the conflict began

And the lads were sent off to fight.

The ships left their piers; there were songs and 3 cheers

As Old England slipped out of sight.

They stood on the decks some were straining their necks

To see the approaching shore.

To Ken this did mean, twas the farthest he’d been

But his father had been there before.

He’d fought in the mud and given his blood

In the trenches two decades gone by.

Tho’ Ken felt a fear, he shed not a tear

In those days young men didn’t cry.

Once they joined the fight they met the full might

Of a foe they could never defeat.

The order came thro’ that the best thing to do

Was pack up and start to retreat.

After days on the run bombed and shelled by the ‘Hun’

What was left of the lads reached the sea.

But with few ships in sight they knew that their plight

Was bad as it ever could be.

As the bombs screamed and fell, it was like being in hell

As they waited their turn on the beach.

They stood in the tide with nowhere to hide

And thought home was way out of their reach.

But Kens luck held that day and he got away.

His first trip abroad was now over.

As a boy he’d began but ended a man

When he stepped off the boat at Dover.

While men fight and die in England’s grey sky

And the Battle of Britain rages.

Tho’ a very close run, the battle was won,

Remembered in history’s pages.

Near the end of the show, reserves were so low

It looked like defeat was in sight.

Then the nation gave thanks as men from all ranks

Came forward and took up the fight.

You couldn’t blame Ken if he’d said there and then

Of fighting he’d had his share.

But when the call came he put forward his name

Determined to take to the air.

When Kens posting came thro’, he did what men do,

Said goodbye to his family and friends.

Tho’ he knew in his heart this could be the start

Of a story with no happy end.

To the Merlin’s beat in the burning heat

He flew in the African sun.

He’d realised a dream in this deadly machine

That had started when he was young.

He’d had to get by without Grammar School tie

Or money or College degree.

But when put to the test was as good as the rest

And better than most could be.

He took off at first light, and by sunset that night

They knew he would never return.

Now he lies in the sand in a far foreign land

Neath a sun that forever will burn.

Now the story is done, the battle was won

Peace returned to the land of the free.

But was it in vain, he suffered the pain

To die at the age twenty-three?


Written by Eric Spence May 03



small cat.2
© 152(Hyderabad) F Squadron 1939-1967. All Rights Reserved.