The Shite Hawks of Milne Bay

Back in 1942, things looked pretty grim
The enemy was at Australia’s door, our chances seemed so thin
Britain was too busy, to send us any aid
They’d lost everything in Singapore, under the Samurais’ blade

The Japanese advance slowly stalled, along the Kokoda track
A bunch of “Chockos” held them up and started to fight back
The enemy changed their tactics, in this mortal fray
By landing further down the coast, at a place called Milne Bay

The Aussies were outnumbered, on land, air and sea
It seemed only a miracle, would keep New Guinea free
Two squadrons of Kittyhawks, was all the RAAF could spare
Plus a few Hudson bombers, the odds seemed hardly fair

Sitting close to the tip, of a hostile tail
A life and death struggle, they could not afford to fail
The rain and the stinking mud, hounded all their dreams
War was no adventure, life is rarely as it seems

They always seemed to have the runs, which struck with such great force
So, they cut the back out of their shorts and let nature take its’ course
Held in by a harness, there was no place to aim
Victims of the jungle’s stench, they all smelled the same

Call it an embellishment, well you may scoff
Their mounts were covered in so much mud, they struggled to take off
As one with their comrades, the fighting lads of Oz
This may offend some snowflakes, but that’s the way it was

All this happened long ago, our heroes have all gone
They found Valhalla, among the clouds, their legend still lives on
The Panther and the Magpie, now carried on their crests
Airborne knights of the air, challenging air warfare’s tests


By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
29 November 2022


FILE PHOTORAAF Squadron Leader Keith W ‘Bluey’ Truscott taxiing his P-40E Kittyhawk along the Marston Mats at Milne Bay Fighter Strip #3, Milne Bay, New Guinea, Sep 1942. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial.





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