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Finding Something to Write About

By Judy May Allen, Pen Woman in Letters



I found a battered folder in a file cabinet in my closet during the COVID lockdown. To my surprise, it contained a typewritten copy of a manuscript that my father wrote over 30 years ago.

It is the story of his Royal Air Force (RAF) years. I could hear his voice telling these tales over his nightly scotch. As a result of my unexpected discovery, I have turned his manuscript into a book for family and anyone else who might be interested in the career of a remarkable man from 1938 to 1959. W/Cdr B. Joe May served in Wales, England, Burma, India, Palestine, and the United States and the manuscript showcases the record of that remarkable career.

Here's a peek at the Foreword for the book, which is titled Penguins Can't Fly.

Penguins are birds – but birds with an unusual characteristic – they cannot fly. The vast majority of Officers in the Royal Air Force are like penguins: they belong to a flying fraternity but cannot fly. The administrators and accountants; the lawyers and educators: all these and many others are proud members of a flying service but, like the penguin, they don’t fly. The General Duties or Flying Branch of the service appended the sobriquet “Penguin” to their non-flying colleagues – sometimes derisively but more often affectionately – and this war-time identity, the affiliations with the birds, has stuck. This book is dedicated to the Penguins of the Royal Air Force and its associated flying Services. BJ May


I share this with you in hopes that you, too, will find material to write about—very close by! What a legacy to leave for family and friends!

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