There were many of our Indignenous Soldiers who Served with distinction during WW1 and WW2, and since.

 

The Black Rat by Iris Clayton

 

He lived in a tin hut with a hard dirt floor.
He had bags sewn together that was his door.
He was a Rat of Tobruk until forty five,
He was one of the few that came back alive.

Battered and scarred he fought for this land,
And on his return they all shook his hand.
The price of fighting for the freedom of man
Did not make any difference to this Blackman.

He returned to the outback, no mates did he find.
If he had a beer he was jailed and then fined.
He sold all his medals he once proudly wore:
They were of no use to him any more.

Confused and alone he wandered around,
Looking for work though none could be found.
The Anzac marches he badly neglected,
Would show to his comrades how he was rejected.

He fought for this land so he could be free.
Yet he could not vote after his desert melee.
And those years in the desert they really took their toll,
He went there quite young and he came home so old.

This once tall man came from a proud Black tribe,
Died all alone – no one at his side.

 

 

Written by Matt, March 2015 - Tobruk.

The Italians dreamed of glory
Italian tacticians made many mistakes
The british surprised them on Dec. 9
British armor raced along the Libyan coast

Coastal towns had been turned into fortresses
They proved to be no match for the
Highly mobile British forces

One after another the towns fell to the British
The Italian army was trapped
By 1941 the British occupied the eastern half of Libya

Feb 12, 1941
Rommel took control of the Africa Corps
2 armored divisions
8000 men and 135 tanks  
Plus the light infantry division

On April 1, the Germans
Mark III and Mark IV tanks  
Outranged the British
The British were pushed back into Egypt

However one division remained in Tobruk
The infamous and stubborn rats of Tobruk

Tobruk held on at first
Barely enough food and water to stay alive

Tobruk was needed by the Germans
For their supply chain

Rommel said he would finish Tobruk for good
It fell on June 1 1942

Montgomery took control at El Alamein
Lend lease supplies came in

Axis shipping was badly damaged
By Allied air strikes


Oct 23, 1942
The British forces moved to the assembly areas

The First Battle of El Alamein began
The British halted the Axis forces from
Advancing into Egypt

Oct. 24, 1942
A vast troop convoy
Set sail from American ports
The next day, two convoys left Britain

El Alamein was the first great offensive
It coincided with the Battle of Stalingrad
And the Battle of Guadalcanal

The narrator said,
"El Alamein had been the end of the beginning.
For the Axis powers
It was now the beginning of the end."

Churchill said,
"It may almost be said, 'Before Alamein we never had a victory.
After Alemein we never had a defeat.'

 

Soldier's Valediction

I shall not cheer at your triumph for I shall be dead,
Exiled from home and part of an alien soil;
Lost to your sunset's gold and purple and red
And the night's grey foil.

Lost to your cool bright mornings kissing the hills –
Dew on the vivid grass and singing trees;
Lost to the birds' glad music daybreak spills
Through forest sanctuaries.

Lost to the creaking saddle, the champing bit,
The panting bark of a cattle-dog come home,
Lost to the dense green scrub where fantails flit
And whip-birds roam.

Lost to the whispering creeks and foaming falls,
Lost to the valleys in their misted shade,
Lost to the quiet dark where a curlew calls
Like a mourning maid.

I shall not cheer at your triumph for I shall be dead,
Leaving my sons to keep your flag on high,
But wheresoever my mortal dust is sped
There shall echo Australia's battle-cry!

                                 Frank Francis (1944) 

 

Cenotaph

Bomana War Cemetery 

Death leers from the jungle – mockingly,
And smiles all-knowing from the skies:
With bony hands outstretched, caressingly...
But light of bitter mockery in his eyes.

Ah! Sons of men,
Are you so tired of life
Which, all too short
You would have shorter yet?
Remember – all those promises you made,
The vows, and tears you poured on bronze and stones?
While sadly murmuring
"Lest we forget?"
Need you more sacred bones
To bury in more vaults,
And call "unknown?"

Enough!
All men have paid enough
To have their names engraved upon a shrine,
Where many stand and stare at fluttering flags
Then wander onward, quickly to forget –
In sacred parks
Where drunkards swill their beer,
And old men sit
Unheeding in the sun,
Stand monuments to men who died in pain....
Fighting for that which each one held most dear –
Kindred and homes:
Must they have died in vain?
Someday, we too must die,
Maybe within this festering clime,
And sad-eyed mothers, lovers, grieve for us;
While civic raise ironic cheers

Around great stones....and saying "Thus they died, and thus!"
We shall not know, or care,
Nor will the wide-eyed multitude
Who come to stare, and do not have to pay!
They will have much to talk about at tea-
"Did you see those women weeping
By the cenotaph, to-day?"

                            Howarde Tilse, (1943)

 

THE VETERAN’S SONG

 

Left-right-left! left-right-left! list to the marching feet!

 

Military Parade, 29 May 1915, SLQ

Thum-thum-thum! thum-thum-thum! hark to the drum’s quick beat!

It calls me now as it calls before,

When the nation’s sons prepared for war,

And marched through the crowded street.

 

Left-right-left! left-right-left! didn’t we make  a show?

Thum-thum-thum! thum-thum-thum! didn’t they cheer us so?

We felt we were men with a task to do,

And we vowed one and all we’d see it through.

Or we’d lie where the flowers grow.

 

Rapid fire! never tire! see that you waste no shot!

All cease fire! they retire! Foes -yet a gallant lot!

Of that awful hour shall no craven tell,

‘Tis the tale of the man who has borne him well.

Where the battle flames were hot.

 

Left-right-left! left-right-left! list to the heavy feet!

Thum-thum! thum-thum! hark to the muffled beat!

For there’s a crape[1] on the drum when the fighting’s done,

And the man who lives reverses his gun,

To the “Last Post” clear and sweet.

 

  1. Maurice Little (1923)

 

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