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Friday, 25 September 2009

John Pudney, war poet.

John Pudney's writing career began in 1933. He joined the RAF in 1940 as an intelligence officer, and like H.E. Bates he also worked for the Creative Writers' Unit. His particular task was to write war poetry which could inspire the public and service personnel.
War publications:
  • Dispersal Point and other Air Poems (1942)
  • The Grass Grew All Round (1942), poems
  • Beyond This Disregard (1943), poems
  • South of Forty (1943), poems
  • Who Only England Know (1943)
  • Ten Summers: Poems 1933-1943 (1944)
  • Almanack of Hope: Sonnets (1944)
  • Air Force Poetry (1944) anthology editor with Henry Treese.
  • Flight above Cloud (1944), poems
  • The Air Battle of Malta (1944) HMSO information books.
  • Atlantic Bridge (1945) HMSO information books (anonymously)
  • World Still There (1945)
The best known poem is For Johnny which starred in the 1945 film, Way to the Stars, advocating practical help for the families and children of airmen killed in action.
This and three others were included in the 1944 anthology of air force poetry. Others, like Air Gunner, reflect on how war requires boys to be men.
Personal information can be found at, and on the War Poets Association site

I will write later on this factual progress-of-war books for HMSO on the Atlantic Bridge, and Defence of Malta. Who Only England Know is a diary/logbook of RAF war experience over the Mediterranean and in Africa.


  1. Hello, would you happen to know which collection John Pudney's "security" appeared? Thanks so much

    1. I came across this poem in an anthology entitled "This Day and Age" when I was doing my eng. lit. 'O' level. As I am now over 70 I fear it may be out of print,

    2. I only have a few books and haven't found it. Yes I am afraid everything is out of print.

  2. Will have a look. First task will be to find the books! I had a tidy up recently. Will reply in a day or two