“The Last Farewell” sung by David Clifton, B-17 Pilot

In the comments section for this video, Nick Dawson of Texas says that it is “awesome”. He is right.

David Clifton, a B-17 pilot in World War Two sings his own version of an old song. I believe that the video was made to mark Mr Clifton’s 90th birthday in 2010.


By the way, I have no wish whatsoever to tread on anybody’s copyright toes in this short article. I just think that Mr Clifton and his very moving song deserve a very wide audience indeed. The clip was originally uploaded by BahamasDave1, and for those interested in a first-hand account of B-17s during the war, Lt. Colonel Clifton’s oral history, prepared by Charles Riley, provides detailed recollections. The tapes and transcripts are available at Florida Atlantic University Library, Mighty Eight Air Force Museum in Savannah, and the Library of Congress.

Riley, Charles. Oral History Interviews of Lt. Colonel David S. Clifton, USAF Retired, June 12th-July 26, 2001. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, 19 April 2004.



Filed under Aviation, History

16 responses to ““The Last Farewell” sung by David Clifton, B-17 Pilot

  1. One wonders how much he sees in his mind’s eye as he sings…..

    • Yes, you are absolutely right. I don’t think anybody could have flown B-17s over Europe without finishing up with far too many bad memories, all of them only too ready to come to the surface when they are triggered

  2. Clifton’s The Last Farewell is an incredibly poignant rendition. It says so much. Thank you, John, for posting this.

    • My pleasure. I would have posted it sooner but I didn’t realise that you had a Memorial Day. Over here, we have the Queen lay a wreath on the Cenotaph on November 11th but that’s about it. We should value our Armed Forces more, not least with the care and support that they may need to live happy lives in society after the war has finished.

      • Yes, we have Memorial Day. It is a holiday, but it is different. I have attended Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph, and in the U.S., we have nothing like it.

  3. Reblogged this on Aviation Trails and commented:
    A lovely rendition from a remarkable man.

  4. I have a friend whom I met through Twitter, she has her father’s diaries also a B17 pilot, and publishes them mission by mission. She has donated the diary to the official records office for prosperity. Diaries really bring the war alive and give a better insight into any conflict. A lovely song, by a brave man.

    • You are absolutely right. There is nothing as immediate as the words, either written or spoken, of somebody who was actually there. Thanks very much for your interest. I too very much enjoyed Mr Clifton’s company for those few minutes of his song.

  5. You might want to visit It’s a Pittance of Time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIHie6R2TlY).

    • Thanks very much for that link, it was very kind of you. I’ve just watched it, and it’s excellent. Two minutes isn’t that long out of the life of a happy, free person, is it?

  6. Doug

    He was my uncle and I truly miss him.

    • You have my sincere sympathies. I am sure that you will not have seen the last of your uncle.
      And when you do meet him again, he might even be the young man you have not yet met, with so much to show you and to tell you about.

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