December 11, 1941

Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr., the author of “High Flight,” the best known poem about aviation, is killed when his Supermarine Spitfire collides with another airplane over Britain. He was only 19 years old. An American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Magee had written “High Flight” in Aug. or Sept. and mailed a copy to his parents in Washington, D.C.