Monday, 26 September 2011

Aircrew training 10th Jan 1941 - Books

Dad's bookcase and some original books in my music room
Entry number four from my father's wartime journal covering his thoughts on Bomber Command aircrew training during 1941. Dad was both very well read and a collector of books. Am pleased to say I am now custodian of the wonderful gems he discovered. Earlier posts from his journal:
Entry 4 - January 10th

The day has drawn, once more, to a close. No flying today. We managed to get to get the evening off in Didcot and arrived back rather late when we adjourned to the mess, which made us even later. I received an extremely good letter from Beryl (his younger sister) and another from Mrs Peach who is still worrying over Jack (Jack Lavers enlisted with dad and, after the war, became the family solicitor).

This evening my thoughts, prompted from some unknown source, made me think of my collection of books at home. The main theme was actually concentrated on what should become of them in the event of my death. It seems such a pity that so many volumes collected with unwonted pains and energy should now be of no use to anyone.

With books I have spent so much of my time that my soul is held between their musty leaves. To me, perhaps, in some frustrated way they have been the outlet for unbounded love on my part. I lived with them and now the mere sight of them fills me with pleasant memories of more happier times when I was free to browse, at my leisure, on the intellectual fare provided.

I have heard Robespierre proclaim his fiery, wonderful exposition of liberty, equality and fraternity in the French Revolution. Seen his proscriptions and the tumbrils full of condemned men and women the next day. I have been at the side of Napoleon in his campaign in Northern Italy and marched with Wellington in the Peninsula. Macaulay, Allison, Adam Smith Gibson, Shakespeare have all provided me with their philosophy and works and added to works of countless modern authors have given me spiritual meat and drink for the past five years. What will happen to them when they no longer have one beside them who cherishes them as though they were his betrothed? Perhaps my people will realise what they have meant to me and say of those faded and stained books,'there lies his soul, his mind, all of him that was best and that which we counted most dear'.

Douglas George Banks 1920 – 1989 written in 1941

Posted by Picasa


nevell said...

The term "free to browse" also conjours up other images these "virtual" days!

Unknown said...

This entry show, albeit in a subtle way a sense of vulnerability in your Dad, which captured my heart as I read. His sensitivity and amazing insight shine out in all his entries. Wonderful. I also share his love of books, and I identify with the comment about his soul being held in their musty pages. Heather