Vietnam Reflections – Always as One

Address by George Mansford (Cairns 18 August 2017)

Today throughout our nation there will be gatherings such as ours to reflect on our involvement in the Vietnam War and above all, to honour our fallen. In doing so, we also pay our deepest respect to yet another generation of our military currently on operations. It seems nothing changes on our troubled planet

Was it so long ago that our men and women went to war in a place called Vietnam?

It was a time when frequent government lotteries in rolling barrels full of birthday numbers determined which 20 year old males would be conscripted for two years’ military service.

It was a time of anti-war demonstrations and vilification of those in uniform and their families which caused our military to become closer and united more than ever.

It was a time when protesting mobs burnt our national flag and the consequences were that our troops cherished the sacred cloth even more.

In Vietnam our units stood fast in battle. They endured the physical and mental demands placed on them. They refused to relent against what seemed impossible odds on more than one occasion. Always evident was their battle discipline, confidence and trust in each other and even when battle weary, no matter when or where, were the grins.

As well as major battles, it was also a time of countless patrols, ambushes, cordon and search operations, much of which is now long forgotten and gathering dust in history records

Always are the veteran’s memories of such times. How could they ever forget the wok wok of the beloved Huey and the familiar drone of the Caribou or perhaps they were on one of the warships patrolling a very dangerous coast line. The nurses waiting at the landing zone called Vampire ready to receive yet another group of wounded.  Do you remember counting the days until it was one day and a wakey before going home and so many dreams to pursue?

It was a time of varying farewells such as watching mates struggling with heavy packs and weapons boarding a chopper or armoured personnel carrier to commence another operation. Departing on Rest and Recuperation to escape the madness for just a few days or going home. No matter the circumstances, always was the firm hand shake, sharp wit, a hug, a wave, a thumbs up as a fond farewell or perhaps a shout of “Take care”. Unknowingly for some, it would be for the last time.

There were forgotten lessons of war from previous campaigns and re-learnt the hard way in Vietnam. There were also new lessons learnt in Vietnam which have since been neglected or distorted thanks to social engineering and the continual onslaught of political correctness.

 Common was the immense camaraderie, determination, wry humour and battle discipline which demonstrated that the magnificent qualities of the original ANZACs had not been diluted.

There was pride, duty, honour and acceptance of responsibilities which had been developed from early age in our society then strengthened in the military during training and mastered on operations.

It was a time of loved ones waiting for news and dreading any unexpected knock on the door. We should never forget the wives, mothers  and families who bore the brunt of isolation, not knowing and always searching for mail and the media for any fragment of news. They met the challenges with dignity and stood the test. Wives were both mother and father and always praying that the next knock on the door would not be by a grim faced official

At war’s end it was a time for adjustment and sadly that was not to be for so many who thought they had come home but hadn’t. There are still those who confront the consequences of war in so many ways.

There were those who in desperation said “enough is enough” and left us to join the fallen.

Today the ranks grow thinner and always are the increasing nudges from Father Time to remind all of their mortality. If the fallen could speak, perhaps it would be to remind all “Who they were and what they were”

They would say “Australia is indeed the lucky country and will remain so, if you, the living strive to keep it so”

They would remind us “To fight the good fight for what you believe to be right”

They would demand “Honour us by your actions as active members of the community; for you are us and we are you. While you live, we live. ”

GM 7/2017


 Reflections of War

On this special day, old warriors will meet here and there

To recall times of duty and when they did dare

To honour fallen comrades, perhaps with a band or choir

Others will reflect at home, even a park bench or beside a campfire 

Father Time has caused more gaps in the ranks since last year

Often a gentle nudge from the River Boatman who is ever so near

Memories will be stirred of comrades, laughter, song, mud and tears

For many, the haunting sounds of battle and sudden fears

Waiting for hidden death to explode in a silent jungle so green

Listening to familiar sounds of wocking blades soon to be seen

Watching a Caribou* high above and all wondering where it had been 

Knowing our warships patrolled a coast line so dangerous and mean 

The electric shout of “contact” and collision with danger yet again   

Fleeting shadows, hostile sounds, racing pulse and heat or drenching rain

Devoted nurses waiting for Dust Offs* loaded with dead and dying 

Casualties in blood soaked muddy rags with grins and rarely crying

Finally came that last roll call and war weary veterans said hooray

Soon after, the first glimpse of excited loved ones screaming “gidday”

Days or years later, waking from nightmares of battle and reaching out

Believing they’re alone, no matter how often they shout 

The gathering will end and the square will be silent once more 

In lonely rooms, parks or by dying campfires, some will ask “What for?”

Whatever they were or what they did or did not do

Let no one forget, they were all as one who served true blue

They march with pride in the column until the next life to be 

Always will be their example of duty, honour and love of country 

Even after the Boatman has taken all of them from life’s stage

Their brave deeds remain forever in many a history page

George Mansford© July 2017


*Dust Off— “Dedicated and Unstinting Service To Our Friendly Forces”

*Caribou—RAAF aircraft


How Lucky Can A Useless Bast-rd Be

It is better than winning Lotto when two beautiful young women backpacking from the Old World arrive at your firm base in Cairns, Far North Queensland for several nights to explore the natural beauties of our land “Down Under.” How lucky can a bloke be?

Such was their interest in our region, they extended their stay by several days while exploring the reef, mountain ranges, rain forest, waterfalls and historical sites.

I certainly wasn’t complaining in the company of two happy charming youngsters bubbling with life.  To make life even better for an old soldier, they took command of the evening meals and early breakfasts before launching into another day’s adventure.

Given there were no political correct mentors or purse lipped UN officials close by, there was even time to introduce them to the some old Aussie language. Thus by the time they were back in Sydney and soon to return to the Old World they e- mailed me a farewell message ending with a most complimentary signature of the Australia I know. It read   “Many thanks, you old bast-rd” (a compliment they have continued to use in subsequent messages)

I can’t wait until they return and teach them more of the colourful language we use, including our use of the phrase “Useless blo-dy Drongos” to describe those who claim to lead our Nation.

In the meantime, here is a small piece of scribble dedicated to two beautiful young ladies now back in the Old World. It has been written by the useless old bast-rd who had the immense honour of being one of their hosts in the land of OZ.

Come back soon,

Luv ya

George Mansford in Paradise


                  For The beautiful Sixers From the Old World —Reka and Melinda             Touring the Land Down Under

They came from the old world far across the sea

Born in a far distant place and a different age from me

Two beautiful tourists drinking from a cup brimming with life

Using happiness and humour  as a shield from misery and strife.


Two young lasses from the old world to the new 

Chopin and Straus exchanged for haunting sounds of a didgeridoo 

Swimming at the Reef mid teeming fish and multi coloured coral bright

To see our proud Southern Cross glittering high above at night


Vast distance of silent bush between each sleepy town

From stone bare hills to fertile land so rich, red and brown

The cackling call of the kookaburra and the screech of coloured birds

At night around a camp fire when cicadas call and a dingo howl is heard       


Far away from the big smoke there’s a language known as Strain

“Howyagoin” “Strike me pink” and a friendly “gidday” again and again  

“Wouldja like a cuppa?”  and  perhaps “it’s your blo-dy shout”

“Fair dinkum” “and “Dinky Di” is very much what OZ is all about”


Now there’s cold ashes of a campfires long after their final fond hooroo 

Footprints fading on golden beaches, desert sands and jungle tracks too

Yet a visit not to be forgotten by screeching birds, dingo and kangaroo

While the haunting sounds of farewell still echo from a didgeridoo.

George Mansford April 2017


Enough is Enough

Bulging wallets and full troughs are part of the political game 

Canberra Suits should wear masks to hide the shame

As Battlers with more taxes and rising costs struggle to pay bills

While at family dinner tables, plates are far from filled 

The Canberra political choir sings its new anthem every day

One catchy line is “Don’t do as we do, but do as we say”

Their battle plan is to cut expenditure and give workers less pay

No penalty rates on weekends will be the new way

How about a book on leadership for our masters to read?

It tells of personal example so essential if you are to lead 

For example, never tell of cuts to weekend penalty rates

As you grab extra pieces of silver from a Treasury with unlocked gates

We need sound direction if we are to be who we should be

Rid us of crippling red tape, deceit, foreign aid and lunches so free  

Snub the smothering political correctness which pleases very few

Return our freedom of speech and stop telling us what we must do

Oh to have our own Gandhi with an Ocker accent to lead

Driven by respect and vision for the people and not conceit or greed

Perhaps a new Joan of Arc or Winston rallying us to seek tomorrow 

Someone to rid the constant bickering, excuses and feigned sorrow

Many of us tire of being treated as mushrooms on a far distant range

Can’t you hear the people shouting “there has to be change?”

A time may come when the call is “Enough is enough, for God’s sake”

Let’s hope there’s no foolish taunting reply like “Let them eat cake”

George Mansford ©June 2017

  A Proud and Sacred Place

               A Proud and Sacred Place












When you visit this memorial of granite stone

Its silent sentries forever standing on guard alone

No matter your walk of life, young or old, you are part of it all

They are you and you are them, so be proud, stand straight and tall 

Listen to the faint bark of orders from a faraway parade ground

Catch on the breeze the songs they sang with such happy sound  

Hear distant bugles sob and the drums in rhythmic pounding beat 

The stirring thump of marching feet 

Recall when ugly storm clouds hovered and our nation did call

So many generations stepped forward to give their all

Watch as blurred columns of yesterday’s youth march by 

Battle honours sewn on regimental colours flying high

How many dreams of warriors which were never to be

Lost in the din of war and where the blood of our youth ran free

See again the faces of those who did dare

Now resting in a peaceful place which the living know not where

Today a new generation wears the regimental badge with great pride

The regimental torch held high as they seek tomorrow, side by side

The ANZAC genes are strong as anyone can see

Mateship, love of country, wit and battle discipline as it used to be

This sacred place is now another milestone of our nation’s history 

A reminder of past sacrifice to ensure a way of life for you and me

Etched are the words “All gave some. Some gave all”

While echoing from the past, “Duty First “is the never ending call


Lest we forget

George Mansford©June2017


Note: The Memorial is located in Ferguson Park on Samford Road, Enoggera which is immediately opposite the northern entrance to Gallipoli Barracks. Brisbane City Council has approved that portion of the Park to be named The Royal Australian Regiment Place.


Future Leaders – Our Nation’s Proud Torch Burns Bright

This poem was prompted by visits to schools during ANZAC services in FNQ where young Aussies do all of us proud… 

Our Nation’s Proud Torch Burns Bright

A crowded sea of faces in the school hall

A choir reaches out to them with sweet call

Disciplined youth bursting with innocence of life

Honoring those from yesterday who gave all in times of strife 

The deeds of the fallen spoken with deep pride

They who had stepped forward as one, to serve, side by side

Now ghostly shadows are dancing to and fro among the class 

Can they be the men and women we honour from the past?

I told these scholars of the dreams all soldiers did share 

To be home with loved ones and peaceful bliss every-where 

A happy precious free way of life for those yet to be born. 

Surely the silence of the guns would signal a bright new dawn?

This audience will be our leaders in time to come

No matter who or where, they will always be united as one

Many will be parents and teach their young, our values of life

To tell them of past sacrifice during Mar’s terrible strife

In this very hall, I saw familiar images of those lost in war 

Smiling, dreaming, eager and a love of life to the very core

Today’s students are of the same ilk and our nation will stay strong

They too understand our way of life and what is right from wrong

Suddenly I was looking into yesterday and felt the bursting pride

For they are you and you are them, all marching side by side

Your sacrifice was not in vain and dreams surely did come true

Today’s proud and freedom loving youth are forever you, true blue  

George Mansford © April 2017


Opinion – Brothers in Arms

On recent ANZAC parades in the deep south I was appalled at the conduct of mindless fools who organised  indigenous veterans to march separately from their comrades beneath an indigenous flag.

It was a deliberate act of unjustified political correctness to flout well established protocol and thus threaten the very core of the military ethos by sacrificing established unity for questionable diversity.

Unity in the military forces implies  “all for one and one for all”  Sharing and caring for each other no matter race or colour. Be it the heavy loads, sentry duty, the inevitable dangers and that last spoonful of food or the last of the water.  So often caring for a mate down with fever or a cobber who had just received sad news from home.

All our fallen and those comrades since gone, no matter race, colour or religion have the same status. They were and always will be brothers.

The RSL and its sub-branches should revisit the past and think again on the urgent need to protect ANZAC  protocol  from mindless politically correct agitators hell bent on destroying our proud values.

George Mansford

Whatever Happened to Ocker Land?

In a world of political correctness, be careful what you say

A slip of the tongue means exile and a high cost you will pay

Offer contrary views which upset our new regime, then watch out!

You’re branded racist, stricken with islamophobia or an ignorant lout


Don’t call politicians “useless basxxrds,”as once we used to do

There’s every chance that with today’s laws, Canberra Suits could sue

A new rule when watching a footy match is “never heckle”

Otherwise you will be an instant leper or the status of Doctor Jekyll


It’s fisherpersons now, so bite your tongue if you talk of fishermen

Sketch a controversial scene and you may forfeit more than your pen

Wait fort green lights flashing “him and her” before crossing a street

Standing up or doffing a hat to a lady is at your peril when you greet


How odd it is that some will march for women’s rights

Yet polygamy, female circumcision and other evils are never in sight

So be alert if you anger a feminist with your honest views

You’ll be on a hit list and frankly, cobber, its curtains for you


All is not lost if you travel far and visit our rugged Outback

Where commonsense and honesty are yet to be put on the rack

At the pub where tribes meet and if you shout “drinks for the guys”

“It’s Sheilas and Blokes, you silly basxxrd” the barmaid will cry


George Mansford © April 2017

Note. Basxxrd has been censored because many of my friends have politically correct computers

Precious Memories of Yesterday

Precious Memories of Yesterday

I often try to open that magic door

Wishing and hoping for evermore

To find you waiting in the shade of our favourite tree

Where we would often rest, just you and me

Is it so long ago since you went away

To me it seems only yesterday

Friends tell me that life goes on and time will heal

I smile and pretend that’s exactly how I feel

I still see you waving as our troop ship slowly sailed away

Your comforting letters I read by night and day

Constant thoughts of you despite dangers, heat or drenching rain

The reassuring sweet embrace when I returned home again

Where ever I go, you are always there

Smiling, laughing, holding my hand, no matter where

At night I still reach out and call your name

Yet always the unwanted smothering silence, again and again

I seek you everywhere but only fleeting blurred images appear

There are times when the dark loneliness creeps so very near

Yet always I gather strength when I believe you are close by

It is then, my beautiful one, I ask the question “why?”

Although I grieve and long to be with you, here or there

There is always the comfort of the deepest love we did share

The sweetest memories of hand in hand, facing life together

It will suffice until that door opens and I’m with you again, forever

George Mansford © March 2017

Mateship is very much part of the Australian Spirit – The Power of Mateship

The official changing of the wording on one of our icons in New Guinea from “Mateship” to “Friendship” left me clutching for my tranquilisers..

Clearly this was the work of maniacs intent in destroying much of what we value so dearly from yesterday. Even more infuriating is that those responsible are using public money in no small measure to do it.

Mateship among other qualities forms the base of our Australian spirit, conceived with the arrival of the First Fleet, born and reared in early colonial days and christened in its young  age  with the landing at Gallipoli .

A classic example of the mateship on the Kokoda Track was during the fighting withdrawal of the 39th Battalion. A group of walking wounded was ordered to return to Port Moresby.  Soon there would be showers, clean clothes, hot meals , crisp white sheets and deep restful sleep then home. It seemed that for these diggers, their war was over.

On the journey, they met the advance guard of the units moving to relieve the battered 39th. The word was that the 39th was in deep trouble.  With the exception of three very badly wounded, the casualties turned around and went back to fight once more besides their comrades.  Such conduct is surely much deeper and meaningful than friendship.

In my view, friendship is holding hands while strolling along a well sign-posted path on a sunny day. Mateship is often stumbling into uncertainty where your only strength is being with those you trust.

Revisionists of military campaigns clearly do not understand the fundamentals of human behavior and emotions during dangerous times when there is a common sense of purpose. Nevertheless, surely responsible research would show the difference between mateship and friendship, before leaping into nowhere and distorting history.

         The Power of Mateship

Such fools in air conditioned offices and dens 

Change history with strokes of pens.

Thus after much public money has been spent 

“Friendship, not mateship” was the signal they sent. 

I wonder what the diggers would have thought

Of “Friendship” on a track where they had fought.

Against incredible odds with blood, sweat and tears so long ago

While in OZ, loved ones held their breath as the threat did grow. 


No air conditioning, instant coffee and umbrella in case of rain

These mates in green, soldiered in heat, rain, mud, misery and pain. 

No sick leave on the track; just mateship to help them out 

Deep brotherly love, sharing and caring was what it is all about.

A silent oath to each other when danger loomed and then the fear 

They stayed together, staunch and true even when death was near.

Like the ANZACs, they were true blue mates, not just friends

Mates were brothers and whatever the test, would never bend.

Fancy coffin, polished hearse or many flowers that friends gave

Versus mates in green rags, shrouded by groundsheets in muddy graves.

No splendid wakes, laughter and what a great chap he had been

Just a sip of water, new orders and moving on in the cruel jungle green.

So many battles where back to back, they all stood fast.

Brothers bonded in mateship and ready to fight to the last.

The power of such unions is a signature from ANZAC to this very day.

Our sacred mateship from generations past is not for sale in any way. 

George Mansford © March 2017

Training for War – Soldiering

Training for War

One of the latest trends emanating from Canberra is how to enhance Political Correctness via the Armed Forces to higher levels. The military obediently stands to attention as the lash is applied and after the salt has been rubbed into the wounds, does its best to repair the damage.

Today there is new warm fuzzy feeling that the problem is Anglo Saxons. It’s claimed they have been the dominating force in our military and at the expense of minority groups. Thus a recent directive is a quota system for all. Clearly the old practice of seeking the best of the best, no matter the origins has been discarded.

One requirement will never change and that is combat readiness is developed with tough demanding and realistic training where mental and physical toughness becomes paramount. Where mateship is conceived on the parade ground and becomes reality in the field. Where they share that last mug of coffee, sleep in the freezing cold and embrace each other for warmth or huddle together draped in a wet sodden blanket in bone piercing icy winds.  Slowly but surely arrives an awareness that they will rely on each other for survival.

Our military history clearly shows that no matter race, colour or religion, they all wore the same uniform and with the same purpose.

There is no need to brainwash or use space age gimmicks to highlight a particular group. The new initiative which emphasises diversity is far from achieving unity and has every chance of fragmenting the team.

Unity, not diversity, is the key to achieve “All for one and one for all”

There is ample evidence to be found, such as Charlie Mene, a Torres Strait Islander decorated for going forward under fire to rescue his white mates.  Sergeant Charlie Anderson, a proud aborigine killed in action and his platoon wept at his loss. History records the much loved Captain Reg Saunders, the first aborigine to be commissioned and when in the thick of a battle, one of his soldiers yelled, “This is no place for a white man” and their leader yelled back “No place for a black fella either”

The critics would on many pages find true blue Aussies such as fair headed Ziggy Imaks, born in Lithuania. Swarthy Tony Parrello born in Trieste, Von Kurtz born in Germany (and at school was part of the Hitler youth) and even a Muslim who never brought his prayer mate. Huddled together, black, brown, brindle and white, they all ate the same food including devout Catholics such as Bluey Doyle who in the field was never offered fish on Fridays. They were all of the same team with the same purpose and would give all for each other. Sadly some of them did.

They were welded together, not by political brain washing but because they had met the tough demands of soldiering together, “all for one and one for all” regardless of religion, race or colour.

No matter who they are or where they come from, tough and realistic training prepares them for war. Given mental and physical toughness combined with a highest standard of battle discipline and sense of purpose, they will endure all. Raw recruits from yesterday who met the challenges of battle discipline become today’s best of the best and not necessarily in equal ratios from each quota, be it black, brown, white, brindle, uni- sex or in between.

Let all recruits be from the same box with the same rules and considerations. After all, they will fight together and risk all together.

George Mansford March 2017



All of us together, how many miles did we walk 
Or over a few beers, so much banter and talk
Sharing the dangers of our time
All those dreams, yours and mine 
Didn’t matter what our race or colour 
Simply put, we were brothers
Some were teased for past walkabouts and hunting game
Their answer was finding food for white bastxxds in ball and chain 

When it was all over, we went our different ways 
Then political correctness crawled in on a dark miserable day 
PC ***zealots, frothing at the mouth prowled the social scene
Pointing fingers at old soldiers for racism (which had never been)
I recalled all with whom I served
Such accusations they did not deserve
Black, white, brown and brindle, we were as one 
Long before these PC disciples lives had begun

How dare they decide there is a need to change
To target and distort the past when they are far out of range
History records the deeds of such soldiers throughout the ages
So many scattered among our proud military pages  
Charlie Mene from the Torres Strait risked all to save white mates
Jacky Walsh was always there when needed and never late
Reg Saunders who commanded was respected and loved by all
Sergeant Anderson whose men wept when he did fall  

We bled, starved and thirsted together yet always ready to dare
Read my lips, for we were as one, no matter when or where
Canberra Suits and PC witches should bugxer off and do their sums
To understand that we will always, always be as one.
George Mansford © March 2017

Some computers have been programmed to prevent the delivery of messages with such obscenities. My apologies if I offend you however I was reared on basxxxrd and buggxx  off