Chicago Evening American, Aug. 4, 1920.
Fort Dodge, Ia., Aug. 4.—Lieut. Homer Locklear, famous stunt flyer, killed in a fall at Los Angeles, Monday evening, had a premonition several weeks ago that he would meet his death this summer, according to Shirley Short, Goldfield Iowa, original Locklear pilot. Short was married recently and is passing his honeymoon at his home. He left Locklear in Canada three weeks ago and had planned to rejoin him in a week. “For more than a year we went together doing stunts,” said Short. “During that time Locklear laughed at the idea of danger until about a month ago. It was shortly after I left him that he became depressed and told me several times that he would get knocked off this summer. It worried me because it was so unlike Locklear.”
Chicago Evening American, June 11, 1921.
Washington, June 1.—How Lieut. Cleveland W. McDermott penned a death poem in the plane in which he and six others were crashed to death Saturday night was revealed here today.
It is the story of perhaps the most remarkable premonition of death that ever has been recorded before the fatal flight. McDermott, who was a seasoned world-war veteran and accustomed to hazardous flights, wrote seven letters to as many friends. These he placed in the hands of a fellow officer with instructions that they be mailed in the event of his death. The poem was discovered in the lieutenant’s personal effects, written on a piece of scratch paper. It had been stuffed in a breast pocket of his uniform. The writing was scraggly, due to the vibration of the motors. This is the death poem:
Another hour and far
away I fly;
A last farewell to my friends I cry;
Then up to the rosy dawn in flight;
A battle with the elements I must fight.
Lost in the fog and mist and rain;
Tossed hither and yonder I strive in vain
To again win out as I have in the past;
Little I knew this was to be my last.
Sharp crash, and my wings are broken back;
Every wire is useless with too much slack.
Down, down I swirl and slip and spin;
Thinking only of all my worldly sin.
The earth seems rushing up to me;
While rigged crags raise their heads to greet me.
As twisting and twirling downward I swirl;
I bid a sad good-bye to a little girl.
Lower down into the trees I crash;
My plane and I have gone to smash.
Up from the Mass call me,
My untouched, unfettered spirit flies
Straight to mother’s waiting overhead.
Although no one, so far as is known, saw Lieutenant McDermott write the poem, his fellow officers at Golding field pointed out today that every indication points to it having been written during the hour preceding the fatal crash. His first act following the premonition was to write the farewell letters, said a fellow officer today. The poem obviously was written under the vibration of engines, so it follows it must have been set down during the last few minutes of his life. The officer to whom Lieutenant McDermott intrusted the farewell letters mailed them a few minutes after he heard of the fatality.