The June Coffee Morning was very enjoyable and busy affair, with several new faces to welcome to the village and lots of familiar ones to welcome back.
The next event in the FVA calendar is the annual Strawberry TeaZ extravaganza, from 3 – 5pm in the Hall on Saturday 23rd July. Join us for a feast of home baking, from scones with strawberry jam, to delicious strawberry-themed cakes and desserts, and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
As much as you can eat for £5.00 per head.
The Book Club continues to meet in the Hall every Wednesday night, and the book choice for July is ‘Death at La Fenice’ by Donna Leon, the first in her detective novel series set in Italy.
The next meeting of the club will be on Wednesday 13th JULY at 7.30pm.
Recently, we heard that the story we told earlier this year about The Fearnan Air Crash 1943 has been commemorated in verse by a Russian poet. The poem tells how, in response to ferocious fighting on the Russian Eastern Front, a group of Russian airmen came to Scotland to take command of a fleet of aircraft that the British Government had offered to assist their Russian allies fight the Nazi forces. During the time they were in Scotland, 3 of their number were killed just outside Fearnan – an event recorded in the poem. Many thanks to Nicolas Slater, who translated it into this dramatic literary ballad.
‘A Variation on the Russian Poem “Memory” by Nicolas Slater’
We’ve been at war a year and more,
And every airman is an ace;
When Jerry sees one in the sky
He needs to find a hiding-place.
But the war’s neither won nor lost;
We need to find more planes today!
Britain has offered us some help:
Their planes can soon be on their way.
Some test flights need to be set up,
In Bonnie Scotland – off we go!
It’s all top-secret, walls have ears –
The enemy must never know.
Captain, ‘Sparky’, Engineer
Have all set off: Good luck! Soon back!
Life’s quiet in Scotland – hurry up!
We must return to our attack.
Our men defending Stalingrad,
Their battle is a living hell.
The lads are dying, I can’t rest,
I want to be in there as well.
Out here – no letters, ne’er a word…
What’s happening to folk at home,
My wife, my mum, my little ones,
While I’m in Scotland on my own?
It’s summer nineteen forty-three:
The test flight’s ordered, and the plane
Stands on the runway. gleaming bright;
So up we go! Soon home again…
Fate can be cruel, and our aircraft’s
A cruel beast, and stubborn too.
Was something wrong with the design?
But we must fly it, me and you.
Captain, ‘Sparky’, Engineer,
On board and ready. Up we go!
As Scotland falls away behind us,
We scan the green fields down below.
All’s going well, until the aircraft
Starts losing altitude. What’s wrong?
Are the engines overloaded?
Listen to their angry song:
“We’re going to crash, and you can’t help it:
We won’t obey you! This is it!”
The nose is pointing down, they’re plunging,
Down there’s the earth they’re going to hit!
“But Fearnan village lies before us
And we must save it, though we die!”
The captain grabs the yoke and yanks it
To keep the aircraft in the sky.
And then they crash into the field.
Their bodies shattered. The flight is done.
The earth’s still shaking from the impact,
Smoke and flames rise to the sun.
The villagers saw what had happened,
And rushed to give what help they could.
They gathered round and saw the wreckage;
But could not do any good.
Captain, ‘Sparky’, Engineer,
Their bodies smashed, and lying there;
Men, women, children, standing sadly
And silently, all shed a tear.
The airmen willingly had given
Their lives to save the village here;
They could not save themselves. But Fearnan
Forever holds those airmen dear.
Children, grandchildren will honour
Those who gave their lives that day.
The other airmen dipped their wings
And home to Russia made their way.
Now there’s a corner, out in Scotland,
A quiet corner where Russia lives on:
With Russian birch-trees, Russian daisies,
A wreath of scarlet poppies, framing
The much-loved faces of those who are gone.
Scotland remembers our lost heroes.
In Moscow, on the ninth of May
A glorious fly-past celebrates them,
And in the skies of Scotland’s Errol,
A squadron of time-honoured warplanes
Commemorates that Victory Day.
A minute’s silence; a lifetime’s sorrow;
We never shall forget our war.
We love and honour those who fell;
Their names live on for evermore.
Grateful thanks to Nicolas for his work on this. Is this the first time Fearnan has appeared in a poetic work, or can anyone come up with other examples?