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Labrador Art

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Courage, Humility and Survival: one SAR Captain’s painting

There is something not quite normal about pilots. Jimmy Aitken was one of the few of my father’s friends that I truly loved and enjoyed.  He joined the RAF during WWII at 15, and in Rhodesia he alternately flew my father around or other  troops.  Famously he was known to “cheer the boys up” after a particularly bad encounter by flying under Birchenough Bridge (you can google it, it’s a suspension bridge in Manicaland Zimbabwe, south of what was Umtali and is now Mutare).  When the floods hit there’s not a lot of space to fly a transport bird between water and bridge metal.  The “boys” learnt to laugh and talk animatedly when Jimmy was their pilot. My father was being taken to look at some targets in Mozambique during the Rhodesian Bush War (much of the war was fought not in Zimbabwe but in Mozambique) as they flew over…