John Gillespie Magee, Jr was an American/British fighter pilot who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. He came to Britain,flew in a Spitfire Squadron, and was killed at age 19 on December 11, 1941, during a training flight from the airfield near Scopwick, Lincolnshire. The poem was written on the back of a letter to his parents which stated, "I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed."
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