I was commissioned by the dead pilot’s brother-in-law to paint this picture for his sister as a surprise. I phone her to check before proceeding and she ok’d it and provided photos and background to her husband’s air accident. She suggested I included the poem printed around the edge.The poem ends “Put out my hand and touched the face of God”. The RAF Wessex winch man also died attempting the rescue.
It was mounted on a cloth Stars and Stripes and there was room for his pilot wings and medals to be mounted below.
WILLIAM HAROLD OLSON
Lt. Colonel United States Air Force
Died as a result of an air accident
on November 18th 1980.
He was thirty-eight years old.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
PO John Gillespie Magee, Jr (RCAF)