Voices from Normanton Airfield

Two poems by wartime airmen serving at RAF Bottesford

By Neil Fortey

We'll Meet Again
High Flight
As the ceremony concluded the Red Arrows passed overhead.

Bottesford (or, more precisely, Normanton) Airfield was home to over two thousand men and women during the Second World War, a population that dwarfed the surrounding villages, drawn from many parts of the world. The young air crews flew out night after night, and many failed to return.

These two poems were written by Derrick “Dixie” Dean and Pilot Officer John McGee, airmen serving at RAF Bottesford during the Second World War, and were displayed recently in Bottesford Parish Church. We are grateful to Mrs Viv Finch for showing them to us and allowing us to reproduce them as displayed.

We regret that we have not been able to contact the poets or their families, though we understand that Mr Dean still visits Bottesford with his wife. It would be wonderful to hear from them or to learn about them and their wartime expoits. We also hope they will forgive us posting their poems on this site.

Read more about the history of this remarkable place in:

Vincent Holyoak, 1995. On the Wings of the Morning. RAF Bottesford 1941-1945. Published by Vincent Holyoak, 38 Wilberforce Road, Leicester LE3 0GT, ISBN 0 9526739 0 8

The interment of Mr Derrick (Dixie) Dean’s ashes took take place on Monday 15th August at 12 noon at St Mary’s, Bottesford. Sadly, his wife Audrey was unable to attend. However, family members were there with representatives from the British Legion and the Armed Services, the Parish Council, Roseland Group, Bottesford Community Heritage Group and Bottesford residents.  

This page was added on 29/10/2007.

Comments about this page

  • Hi, It is with deepest regret I wish to inform you that a couple of weeks ago Derek (Dixie) Dean died, leaving behind his beloved wife Audrey. May we send her our deepest sympathy at this difficult time, until we meet again fella.

    By Hayley (22/04/2011)
  • The interment of Mr Derrick (Dixie) Dean’s ashes will take place on Monday 15th August at 12 noon at St Mary’s, Bottesford. Sadly, his wife Audrey will be unable to attend.

    By Judith Wells (03/08/2011)
  • Alas, the reference to “High Flight” by John Magee in this article is incorrect, as he did not serve at RAF Bottesford. John Gillespie Magee was a Canadian Spitfire pilot based at RAF Digby and RAF Wellingore, about 20 miles to the north east of Bottesford/Normanton. He died in a training flight incident aged just 19. The poem, nevertheless, is a wonderful read and the story behind it, along with others that he wrote in his short life, are in his biography “High Flight” by Roger Cole, published in 2013.

    By Bill Pinfold (13/03/2020)

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