Many salutes to our cobber, Frank Moffitt
It is nearing 68 years since I returned late at night after leave in WA, and reported to the orderly room of Charlie Coy 2RAR.
CAPTION: Frank Moffitt Australia Day in Brisbane with 1RAR, 1959.
Frank was on duty as orderly corporal and after a yarn, pointed to the floor which was my bed for the night and my kit bag for a pillow.
It was the beginning of a long friendship while soldiering together and then, later in life, when we pretended to be civilians.
It was a time when Frank would fly north to Cairns each year to join our family for Christmas, and we would yarn of times gone by.
Moff served with varying ranks in five Campaigns from private to warrant officer – South West Pacific, WWII; Korea; the Malayan Emergency (two tours); Thai Border; and, finally, Vietnam (three tours).
He was wounded four time during his service to his nation and often reminded of his scars with frequent pain and poor mobility throughout his final years, and yet he never complained.
His loyalty and concern for his mates was exceptional.
I recall him travelling to an out of bounds district to rescue a mate in danger of harm.
His mate made it back to base and, in the process, Moff was arrested and reduced in rank yet again.
However, he was so well recognised as a leader, he never lost command of his section, and in record time was once more commanding as a corporal. His record as a junior leader was second to none.
Years later, during his tours of Vietnam, Moff served as a platoon sergeant and then as a warrant officer with AATTV.
There his luck faltered when he was seriously wounded.
After recuperation in Australia, still with the rank of warrant officer, and still carrying his luck charm, he returned for a third tour.
In the 68 years of close comradeship with Moff, the only major and irritating flaw I ever noted was he would never admit error.
Moff retired as a warrant officer with a proud record of service, including at least nine years of active service overseas, and a recipient of a USA award, the Silver Star for bravery, which he never wore.
Moff’s character was your typical ANZAC.
He was always there when needed, and well known for leading from the front.
Moff was never reluctant to voice his views, particularly when the welfare of his soldiers was being neglected and, as soldier of junior rank, had a well-known reputation for ignoring barrack-room rules and procedures.
I had been planning for Moff to return to Cairns pre ANZAC Day when I could take him to some of the schools I visit each year and introduce him as a true blue Aussie.
A volunteer, he had served in five campaigns in hostile and harsh environments at great risk.
An outstanding Australian who, with his personal courage and devotion to duty, created a powerful image that the Spirit of ANZAC was alive and well with love of country, and always the a cry of “a fair go” for all for all young soldiers to master and emulate.
As with most soldiers, he left our planet with few coins to leave behind.
However he did contribute to a huge and priceless treasure chest of beautiful and powerful qualities which today are gathering cobwebs in a complex Space Age.
If we can remember where it is, and use its precious contents, such as leadership, sharing, respect, caring, purpose, pride in our past and learn from it, yet never dwell on failure.
We should also try and recover resilience and common sense (if we can resuscitate them) and much more.
Moff knew them well and took his life’s share, to use before some fool locked and hid the bloody chest while we were all sleeping with our heads buried in the sand.
We, as one people and as one nation must find this lost treasure and use it correctly.
It will make our land the happiest and most unified nation on Planet Earth.
Moff, soon to base up in Valhalla, has been told to volunteer to be one of our guiding bright stars.
SAFE JOURNEY Franky –– Luv ya cobber
16 June 2022
Vale – WO2 Frank Moffit
Were you ever so fortunate, as it has been with me?
To soldier in a band of brothers with hearts so free
And without question, those you have trusted with your life
Mid countless nights and days of bloody strife
Sharing warmth of a blanket and body heat in icy winds and drizzling rain
Thirsty, hungry, weary and waiting for orders to go forward again
Moff was there with the starter’s gun, a wiser and senior brother by far
A guide in life, as true as the Southern Cross or Northern Star
Always there, no matter where, to scout, to show and lead the way
Be it the darkest of night or the brightest of days
A veteran of five campaigns and many proud scars as well
On past nightmares and trials of war, he never ever would dwell
“To cop it sweet” was his motto when punished for times out of bounds
With Moff “reduced to the ranks” or “reprimand” were calls of familiar sound
A true blue ANZAC who challenged authority with mischief and glee
A headache for the Brass whenever a rebel he chose to be
I lost count of times with heavy packs, he tramped the barracks square
Empty pockets due to loss of pay and CB,** for mischief he did dare
Soon his ashes will be scattered in a rainforest he loved
His mourners far and wide, and screeches of birds saluting from above
There will be a time when our mob will be together again
Camped on a peaceful ridge with no snow, heat, mud or jungle rain
All of my mates from go to whoa and who always stood fast at its call
Our mate Moff, preaching love of country, Duty First and fair go for all
LUV YA Moff
By George Mansford
**CB- Confined to barracks
***SS-Silver Star (USA decoration for bravery)