Parachute Regiment - Whitley Bomber Song?

Hi All

I have an (aging) family friend whose father was in the Parachute Regiment , and who I understand took part in Op Market Garden. Unfortunately the old soldier passed away some years ago but his son is trying to put together some of the memories of his dad. One of the things he is trying to get to the bottom of is a song relating to the para drops using the Whitley, which involved dropping through a hatch in the floor of the rear fuselage of the aircraft.

We think the song is called 'down the hole' or 'through the hole'. Can anyone help with a link, or point us to a recording of the song?

Many thanks

I've got some piccies of the Whitley drop my grandfather did, I'll scan them in at weekend and send them over, I'll also look through his diary to see if there is any mention of the song
Do you have any idea which Unit he served with?

Mods, any chance this can be moved into Militaria?
Hello mate, this might be what you're looking for!

Quoted from:

It's also on this site:
It may be worth emailing to find out the tune if you cant find it otherwise.

And it's called.................'Jumping through the hole'!

Information about the song:
It came about from the aircraft that we used at the time. The aircraft at the time was a Whitley Bomber that we used to jump out of before we got the American planes. The Whitley carried ten of us and there was a hole in the floor where we sat, five forward and five behind of the hole. We could not stand up and the method was to shuffle along the floor then swing your legs into the hole then push off with your hands making out that you did not hit the other side with your face. If you hit this was known as ringing the bell it cost you a round of drinks to the rest of the crew plus any alterations to your face. In the song, "First I went to P.T.S.", refers to Parachute training school and C.O. to the Commanding officer the rest is plain sailing.


First I went to P.T.S. my C.O. he advised
Bring lots and lots of underwear you will need them I surmise
But I replied by god sir no matter what befalls
I’ll always keep my trousers clean when jumping through the hole

Chorus Jumping through the hole jumping through the hole
I’ll always keep my trousers clean when jumping through the hole

I went into a hanger an instructor by my side
And on Ken Cardners circus had many a glorious ride
On these ingenuous gadgets said he you will learn to fall
To keep your feet together when jumping through the hole


They swung me on the swing boys they shot me down a chute
They took me to a high aperture I though it rather cute
Said he this apparatus will teach you I recall to keep your feet together
When you are jumping through the hole


They took me out one morning it was cold and damp and dark
They took me in a so-called bus bound for Tatten Park
In keeping with the weather I said to one and all
I take a dim and misty view of jumping though the hole


They fitted me with parachute a helmet for my head
The sergeant looked with expert eye it fits you fine he said
I’ll introduce you now to Bess for that is what we call
The big balloon from which you will soon be jumping through the hole


Up six Hundred Five to drop said he
Five to drop good god I cried one of them is me
So clinging very grimly to the handles on the floor
I cursed the day I volunteered for jumping the hole


I hit my pack I rung the bell I twisted twenty times
Feet hung up in the rigging lines
I didn’t care at all
For I had kept my trousers clean when jumping through the hole


There’s a moral to this story and it’s one that should be told. It’s the keeping of the trousers clean when jumping through the hole.


There was another song that we used to sing at the time it went something like this.

Come and sit by my side in a Whitley do not hasten to bid me ado
Just remember the poor paratrooper and the job he's trying to do
When the red light goes on we are ready for the sergeant to shout number one
When the green light goes on we are steady and ten seconds later we are gone
So come stand by your glass boys, be steady and drink a toast to the men of the sky
Drink a toast to the men dead already and three cheers for the next man to die
MQ1Mate said:

Thanks mate - that sounds a lot like the one. Now all I have to do is find the tune!




Just been reading the song and it scans to the tune from

"Glory Glory what a hell of a way to die etc."

Which would also fit with the period, but obviously this is a guess.

Good luck!


Gremlin you are correct. The other song at the bottom is to the tune of 'The Red River Valley'
The refrain doesn't scan though...

Hmmm. I think you're right. I did find a reference that suggested the song was sung to the tune of 'Knees Up Mother Brown'. Right era but is it something the paras would have sung?

Cheers all



Should have added to my earlier post, the style of exit described in the song can be viewed in the movie 'Operation Crossbow' George Peppard and co, partly filmed at No1 PTS Abingdon circa 1969(?)

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