Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: The Pitcher and the Well

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Chester, UK
    Posts
    35
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default The Pitcher and the Well

    Hi guys
    Not sure if any of you have heard of this book. I have recently been contacted by the daughter of my fathers first tour pilot. She mentioned this book and said that it seemed to have a very special meaning to her father......

    I have found the following link, where you can download the book in a variety of different formats - might be worth a read.....

    http://archive.org/details/pitcherandthewel010822mbp

    Having had a skim through it, I wonder whether it conveys what many aircrew felt, but were never able to say themselves......

    Simon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    1,957
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    The following entry from my 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Three: Biographies & Appendices)'
    might be of interest here also.

    The Pitcher and the Well

    Described by distinguished writer Bruce Mason as ‘a work of art of some distinction’ and elsewhere as the author’s ‘own and considerable achievement’, The Pitcher and the Well claims to be a work ‘edited by Squadron Leader J. D. McDonald from the papers of a New Zealand airman’; the ‘papers’ being ‘a selection of letters from a German prison hospital’ written by an RNZAF air observer who ‘died of burns received when his aircraft was shot down.’* In reality, the book is for its time a quality piece of ‘faction’. No New Zealand airman matching the description of McDonald’s subject died while a German prisoner of war.**

    * John Duncan McDonald, MA, MSc (1906-1983). Served as an RNZAF education officer (NZ1484) Feb 1940 to Jun 1943. The 1961 New Zealand edition of the book correctly describes his rank as that of flight lieutenant, whereas the 1962 British edition has ‘promoted’ him to squadron leader.
    ** For a more detailed account and assessment of McDonald’s work see the article ‘Star-farer’ - A Kiwi Airman Foresees his Death?, by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Landfall No.207, May 2004.

    Errol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Chester, UK
    Posts
    35
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks for that Errol - possibly a lesson in letting my sentiments carry me away......

    Having said this, the text is still powerful and clearly it had a profound effect on dad's pilot. The term 'faction' if that is what it is, I don't think makes it any less relevant - as perhaps an assemblage of discreet stories to create the story of a composite individual, it perhaps resonates more to those that might have experienced similar individual experiences.

    Perhaps John McDonald felt that it was the only way to convey an 'overall' story of the experiences and horrors that these young aircrew experienced.

    Simon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    RAF Honington
    Posts
    478
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Carried away

    Hi Simon
    I got carried away with it when I first got a copy but Errol put me right too bless him..
    There is a thread either here or ww2 talk forum with the information.
    Dee

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    528
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    I agree that there are times when a work of fiction is a better description of the internal struggles of a wartime airman than the more stereotyped biographies or self-constrained autobiographies. However, there are a few of the factual accounts that do deal with the more internal struggles. For the bombers, I suggest Miles Tripp The Eighth Passenger. For fighters there is Roger Hall's Clouds of Fear, and Denis Barnham's One Man's Window demonstrates a steady decline in personality due to stress. I believe there is also a German account by the pseudonymous Peter Henn, which considerably upset his fellow ex-pilots, but I can't find it on my shelves to confirm the content.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •