Category Archives: Rollie

Recruitment – a sample chapter from Rollie

DCP Scan_068, 4/19/04, 4:24 PM,  8C, 7490x10116 (289+418), 100%, A.I. Basic,  1/60 s, R93.7, G87.6, B104.2The firm-jawed young man gazed at a distant blue horizon. The bright sunshine narrowed his eyes and made his cheeks glow. The goggles perched on his head glinted dazzlingly, holding the flying helmet snugly about his head. His fur collar, and the absence of perspiration, indicated the cold of his surroundings. A radio mask hung loosely below his chin, and parachute straps criss-crossed his khaki flying suit. The pilot was confident and determined, looking ahead to a bright future. By his right arm sat a roundel, the circular identification mark of British aircraft, but with the red inner circle replaced by a Canadian maple leaf. Next to this the words ‘Royal Canadian Air Force’ stood proud, while above the young man’s head flew the jolly enjoinder “Join the Team!” Rollie yelped as a fist punched his shoulder.

“Quit staring at that poster, you fat-head. Let’s get inside!”

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Visiting Rollie


Nobler men
May yet redeem our clay
When we and war together
One wise day
Have passed away.


St. Nicholas, North CotesWar gravesIf you’ve been paying attention* then you’ll know that as well as my ongoing medieval saga The Raven’s Wing and my regular gig over on Daily Picspiration I am putting together a biography of Rollie Buckolz, an American airman who hitch-hiked five hundred miles to join the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940, way before the USA joined the second world war, so that he could come over here and fight for freedom. Although I suspect he was beguiled more by a sense of adventure than by any feelings of duty.

HeadstoneThose who died youngRollie is buried a long way from his South Dakota home, in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Church in North Cotes, Lincolnshire, where his squadron was based in World War II. Yesterday I drove across the country to visit him.

*although there’s absolutely no reason why you should have been, let’s face it.

Remembrance of Rollie

DSCN0297This is Rollie Bucholtz, an American pilot who volunteered to fight for the Allies in 1941, six months before America entered the war. He was killed four weeks after arriving in England. I have in my possession his diary as well as many of his photographs and other documents. I plan to write about him next year.

Today, Armistice Day, I remember his bravery and willingness to fight oppression.

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