High Flight was written by 19 year old Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee.
So exited was the 19-year-old about his first flights in a Spitfire that he jotted his feelings on the back of an envelope, and sent it to his parents with the note: “It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed. I thought it might interest you.” The scribbled poem was “High Flight.”
A few weeks later Magee was dead, killed not in the whirl of combat but in a midair collision with a trainer on a misty winter’s day. A farmer saw his disintegrating Spitfire fall, and watched Magee struggling to bail out. His parachute failed to open.
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee