Magpie 91

You’ve lain within your fallen steed, for nearly forty years

But decades cannot wipe away, the heartache and the tears

For we tried to bring our warriors home, at the end of that long fray

But sadly two were to remain, for we knew not where they lay

 

You were not to question why, the riddles of this war

You proudly wore the uniform, as your fathers had before

But you were spared the painful mask, of those who had returned

Who were to face a jeering crowd and our nation’s flag being burned

 

There are some who’ll say your name, at sunset and at dawn

And some will even see your ghosts, in the mists of ANZAC morn

Your names are found on marble walls, of heroes most long gone

But no one ever leaves this life, while the memories live on

 

Through the help of former foes, your sanctuary has been revealed

For sweat, hope and tears pushed back, what nature had concealed

The mystery has been put aside, we finally know the truth

And found the place where you have slept, in eternal youth

 

You’ll be met by your old mates, today well past their prime

Who recall you as you were, in that distant time

For now beneath that jungle damp, your souls no longer roam

You will lie in native soil, our magpies have come home

 

No. 2 Squadron Association member Tomas 'Paddy' Hamilton recites the poem he wrote in memory of Magpie 91 during a 50th anniversary commemorative service at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by Corporal Brett Sherriff.
No. 2 Squadron Association member Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton recites the poem he wrote in memory of Magpie 91 during a 50th anniversary commemorative service at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by Corporal Brett Sherriff.

Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
4 August 2009

 

CAPTION: Framed commemorations of Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver positioned in front of a Canberra bomber during a 50th anniversary commemorative service at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by Corporal Brett Sherriff.
50th ANNIVERSARY SERVICE REPORT HERE

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

One thought on “Magpie 91

  • 27/12/2020 at 12:06 pm
    Permalink

    Merry Christmas Mister Morrison …. Gongs are going up while the Diggers going down

    1
    Conscription was about, the country was in need
    and men should do their bit or so we did believe
    We changed into the uniform like dad and his before
    To keep those Commie Reds from our nation’s shores.
    But you got to think it crook that we soldiers are to blame
    When the banners are going up while the Diggers are going down

    2
    Back home we came with ribbons all eager lean and tanned
    Everyone a hero to their girl and mum and dad
    But underneath the smiles were matters sad and dark
    For war had changed we boys to men beyond our age
    But you got to think it crook, but you take it in your stride
    When the Army no longer needs you and the jobs are hard to find

    3
    We were tall and straight in uniform and a catch for any girl
    That was before the war we went, to spoil our youth filled heads
    Scoffing at those pollies who never go and do their own bidding
    The girls they saw a change in us, all strange and inward looking
    But you gotta think that something smells when they send you two more medals
    When all we needed was a Welcome Home for securing Phuoc Tuy province.

    4
    I promised a life of plenty when she said yes to me
    A promise none could keep as again I went overseas
    The memory of her on the quay until I could see no more
    Crowded out now by screams and shouts from within this head so sore
    But you got to think it crook and it’s a bugger to believe
    When the doctors’ visits are going up while your health is going down

    5
    They put me on the Pension, you can’t earn a bob no more
    So what am I at thirty eight, no use, no good, no job?
    You’re a ‘Disabled Returned Digger’ a good mate called to me
    That’s for old blokes, not me with only shouting in the head
    But you know there’s something wrong and you try to make the best
    When you’re walking kids to school instead of picking up the wrench

    6
    Now the marriage is on the rocks for want of a zac or two
    Your youth and strength no longer carry the family through
    She says she did not marry to live a life on welfare checks
    And off she went to someone else with salary and the rest
    But you know there’s something crook and you try to work it through
    When medals are going up while your pension’s going down

    7
    Good Sammy’s helps us out, RSL’s food vouchers and St Vinnies too
    The kids wear secondhand uniforms, but they are not the ones at fault
    It’s yours for joining up, for doing your level best and ending up a mess
    Now your busted in mind and soul and find it hard to keep stable
    But you gota think there’s something crook when the OAMs are going up
    And your Friends are coming round to help keep you on the right track

    8
    Your sixty now and on your own when something beautiful comes along
    Your eyes been caught by feminine charm and you fall in love once more
    Yes, she would marry me and keep this branch upon life’s tree, while
    Government rubbed its hands with glee, now she’ll have to fund the care of he
    We’re cutting your pension in half old man, a wedding gift, macabre
    But you gotta think it crook when confetti’s going up and compensations going down.

    9
    Would you face your nations enemy in jungles, hills, or sand?
    Even all the more you see its crook, it’s the only way you know
    And the Mothers, Brides and Friends will still be there to lend a hand
    When the Gongs are going up while the Diggers going down
    When the Gongs are going up while the Diggers going down

    To: The Diggers, Mothers Brides and Friends …

    Jock O’Neill
    December 2020

    Reply

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