Opinion – ANZAC Message 2018 for Students – You are Them and They are You

100 years ago today, Australian troops played a major role in defeating the final German offensive of World War One. Against all odds, they achieved their victory by stubborn defence and aggressive counter attacks in the surrounds of a French village called Villers Bretonneux where even to this very day, the local community displays signs revering the Australian soldiers. 

 

 

One of the battalions was the 51st; your very own battalion which is still on the order of battle and is located here in Cairns. A member of the 51st Battalion, Lieutenant Sadlier was awarded the Victoria Cross for valour during the battle.

Before Gallipoli and the terrible years of war that followed, our soldiers had once been in schools not as expansive as yours and in a time when they wrote with slates and chalk.  Later, long before our space age, they learnt copy book writing with pen nibs dipped into ink wells.

Throughout our beloved land “Down Under” their footprints were seen and laughter heard in many a schoolyard.

They too questioned right from wrong.

They too tried every trick in the book to avoid or delay homework.

They too had their cowards and bullies lurking in the shadows.

They too were tempted to dare by what is now known as peer pressure.

As you can see, the challenges you confront, like theirs, are more than a few

Believe me, whatever your secret dreams, they too are not new.

When all seems to go wrong, just remember each and every one of those we honour had doubts of success and fear of failure, yet rolled up their sleeves and reached for the stars.

I knew some of the aging soldiers who had served in Gallipoli and subsequent campaigns in the deserts of the Middle East or muddy fields of France and Belgium. My stepfather was one of them. As an infant I watched many of their sons and daughters march through the streets on their way to another World War and then came a third generation who served in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam. Since then many more have followed in bloody conflicts from Somalia to Afghanistan.

From Gallipoli to this very day, within our people has always been a sense of purpose, mateship, mischief, dry wit, humour and love of country. No matter where you were born, clearly the genes of national character are strong and contagious, for they are you and you are them.

Thus today there is a huge gathering of spirits who watch with pride as you young mortals confront life with its many challenges. The personal qualities of life which they demonstrated are precious gifts you can unwrap and use to pursue your tomorrow with much vision and hope.

In time it will be your turn to teach those yet to be born and pass on the same gifts as given to you, such as discipline, respect for each other, love of country, unity, sharing, caring and to keep going forward no matter the challenges being confronted.

You must never ignore such beautiful qualities of life that the ANZACs left as a legacy for you. They are not there to be prostituted but used wisely. Wherever you go and whatever you do, they too can be your strengths.

The following message has been printed for you, our leaders of tomorrow. Read and remember it well and then go forward with pride in who you are and confidence in what you can become.

God bless all of you, our nation, the ANZACs and all who have followed to protect our precious way of life beneath the Southern Cross.

GM April 2018

 

 

A Message from the ANZACs for Tomorrow’s Leaders

They watch with love as you, our youth pass by

They sigh with pride as at school, our flag flies high

They nod in understanding when you question right from wrong

They smile at your love of life, and why homework takes so long

They hear laughter in the schoolyard where they once did play

They too heard the bell and like you, a stampede to be on their way

They know too well of your dreams, for theirs were much the same 

They became ANZACs, and for you gave flesh, blood and pain

Their deeds and sacrifices are etched in history for ever and a day

At campfires mid the stars, in a message to you, they would say

“You are us; we are you and Down Under will always be our home

A special rugged land of rich beauty where true blues are grown

There are challenges to face, and many will be as a team together

Flood, drought or whatever; all as one from City to Never- Never 

Respect for each other; always going forward and never say die 

These are just some of the rules that were part of our battle cry”

Such are the wise words of ANZACs learnt from time gone by

Who left our shores to fight in foreign lands and where many now lie

They swore a sacred oath; believed in themselves and their nation.

The qualities they left us are not of war but from God’s creation

To share, care, love, master hope, courage and understanding

Going forward as one with purpose as they did at the historic landing

Read their message well to help arm for life in in your tomorrow

Stand tall; be confident of what you can do; now GO make it so

 

George Mansford © February 2018

Poem – Tic – Toc – Tic – Toc

ANZAC Day is reaching out and is a day when our nation stretches even taller.  Its main streets crowded with young and old mid a sea of waving flags. It is such a precious day which shouts to the world of our national unity and spirit. It is a time when we seek the past to reflect on who we were, are now and what we must strive to be. It is a stark reminder of those we honour who have defended a fortunate life now enjoyed by us. Our sacred duty, today, tomorrow and beyond is to keep it so. 

Today, we are living in what is rapidly becoming a fool’s paradise fertilised by political correctness and growing public apathy. Above all, with few exceptions are the inept politicians at all levels of governments who react far too readily to the demands of a noisy blustering minority within our society.

The consequence of our apathy is that our values of life are slowly but surely being eroded. Health, education and social disciplines are such examples, not forgetting our judicial system where the scales of justice have been tampered with to favour the guilty at the expense of the victims.

There are many contradictions in this frantic Space Age.

Our Politicians talk of unity yet all we hear is “Them and Us”

Once upon a time there was a beating of chests to claim one people, one flag, one nation and yet now we are running out of flagpoles for at least three flags which are to be seen in most government infrastructure. Is that national unity?

In parliament, so much squabbling and chest beating spent on trivia issues as opposed to unified efforts to pursue national matters, desperately in need of urgent repair

Once, free speech was a sacred right and yet now you cannot say what you want to say, without fear of being mocked, accused of racism or even worse.

We cannot sustain our chosen way of life unless we’re prepared to respect and protect it. You know it; I know it; the soldiers marching know it and those men and women from all those past generations who created and defended our nation with their own sweat, blood and tears  would have known it.

 

 

 

 


It’s time to roll up the sleeves and tell our elected political leaders to remove the blinkers and ear muffs. It’s time to tell all of them that enough is enough and take us forward, not as diverse groups but as one with a positive sense of purpose. The first step is for them to shove that political correctness where the sun never shines.   

George Mansford  April 2018

      TICK- TOCK – TICK – TOCK

If you listen carefully as precious time ticks by

You will hear the spirits of our fallen in high pitched cry

Wailing with echoes bouncing to and fro of “Why, oh, why?”

As on wet park benches and gloomy dark streets; the homeless sleep

Gold coins for foreign aid are sent while our poor have none to keep 

Such irony that our past gave all to defend our nation with might  

Yet today, apathy abounds as values are slowly stolen without fight 

Sneaking closer are two legged jackals to steal, tear and bite

Read with awe of Kokoda where outnumbered youth stood fast

Sick, starved, wet and weary; defended our way of life to the last

Hear ghostly groans of despair as they study our space- age forts 

Carjacks, home invasion, terrorists, deadly ice and political rorts

No longer walking the streets at night unless with whistle and mace

In homes, security cameras, alarms and locks are always in place

Forget free speech; “the thought police” tell us what we can say 

Behind smoke screens, chameleons brainwash our young, day by day

Today, recreational drugs and joy riding in stolen cars are part of life

Fearing to be mocked if what you say is distorted as racist strife

The meek knock and wait; for others, red carpet and open door

How can you pay with empty wallets when tax men demand more?

In this maddening, changing place, just remember who’s in charge

Stricken circus clowns tumbling with visions from shimmering mirage

That noise you hear isn’t a Jumbo Jet or Tsunami in full roar

Its bitterness and anger of common folk, growing more and more

Past generations’ sacrifices were for a way of life to follow

Today, many a Judas takes pieces of silver to betray our tomorrow

Blood, sweat and tears is the call and no more national debts to seed

We must unite; regather past dreams and elect True Blues’ to lead

Only then, will we find happiness and pride, not despair and sorrow

Meanwhile, if you listen carefully as precious time ticks by

You will hear spirits of our fallen once more in high pitched cry

Wailing echoes still bouncing to and fro of “Why, oh, why?”

George Mansford ©March 2018

Poem – Memories The Ninth Battalion (Australia)

By Sun filled day and frosty night,

O’er rugged hills and desert sand,

We learned to work as teams, to fight

In jungles of another land.

From every city, state and town,

All the lovely countryside,

Impelled by Grim War’s cold, bleak frown,

Gathered we at fair Woodside.

And some of us were volunteers,

But mostly we young conscripts were,

With youthful hopes, ambitions, fears,

Young men’s dreams of love were there.

And lusts, for we weren’t choir boys,

Nor simpering wowser nor old maid;

We searched for brawling, drinking joys,

And chased the girls of Adelaide.

Oh, Adelaide, what wondrous pubs,

The Rundle, Gresham (Mind you Roy?);

The Western, Finden, all were hubs

Of social, sinful, youthful joy.

But scarce the city trips sublime,

Beneath the awesome stars our home,

And Sun-bronzed we became with time:

Leigh Creek, Cultana, ours to roam.

At Murray Bridge we fired our weapons ( honed our drills),

Formed section and platoon at Humbug Scrub – and that was fun.

We dug, dug, dug to prove to them that be our skills,

And by night stood freezing piquet on the gun.

Canungra’s forest where, chilled to bone,

We learned to ambush, and by sudden flare to kill.

The Flinders Range, those hills of stone;

Shoalwater Bay did prove our skill.

And at the last and having passed our nation’s test

(for some a final accolade),

And to that question answered yes,

We bade farewell to Adelaide.

At Murray Bridge we fired our weapons (honed our drills),

Formed section and platoon at Humbug Scrub – and that was fun.

We dug, dug, dug to prove to them that be our skills,

And by night stood freezing piquet on the gun.

Who authorised this Space Age stupidity?

Many years ago our nation was branded as “The lucky country.” Sadly, this proud signature envied by the old world is fading fast. Thought Police and Wimps masquerading as representatives of the people are slowly but surely eroding a legacy handed to us by previous generations.

There is increasing evidence of what can and cannot be said in the public arena, as well as false rewrites of our history. With sly censorship growing, there’s reluctance in the community to speak out. The consequence could be a return to days similar of the old world’s hated regimes where genuine concerns were being whispered behind closed doors.

The latest waves of Political Correctness discourage the use of Mum, Dad, Honey, Love, Sweetheart, merry Christmas and the list goes on. Regrettably, a confused and silent majority of our citizens are becoming immune to it all and wait for the next installment of instructions to be issued by our masters in Canberra on what we can or can’t do.  Where does it end?  Who authorised all of this nonsense?

Unless we apply the brakes and rediscover commonsense; future generations of Australians will never understand what used to be. Muteness and apathy combined with deliberate distortions of our past will be used as weapons to erode and eventually destroy our freedom as we know it.

For those who have been engineering such radical change to our society; it’s time to remove the blinkers, turn on the light and go read our history. Records show that despite immense hardships, a new nation was forged against all odds, complete with unity, independence, wealth, character and immense pride in being who we are. We must not allow our past to be distorted or smothered by a mindless minority. There is so much for all of us to be proud of.

GM March 2018

 

  Don’t Let Termites Destroy Our Proud Legacy 

Will we ever understand the spirit of those who came before?

Who rattled chains, felt the lash and dreamed of freedom even more

Farmers in stifling heat tilled with wooden ploughs again and again

Fevers, broken bones and child birth with bush medicines for pain

At lonely graves were brave farewells that masked grief and sorrow

Men and women scarred with failure still seeking bright tomorrows

Have we forgotten the rich legacies of life won for you and me?

A soapbox was the rostrum to speak your mind so free

A united happy nation that became known as the “Lucky Country”

A family home for all with a backyard for BBQs and kids to run free

An education system envied by others, far and near

Respect for the law and to walk the street at night without fear 

True blues with dreams created reality with blood sweat and tears

The Snowy Mountain scheme was completed despite cynics and fear

Across the vast Nullarbor Plain, a railway line linked East to West

Sydney Harbor Bridge, despite Doubting Thomas, passed the test

Thank God we were left a legacy of some major Dams and Ports 

Now, its talk and no action by a creaking Canberra void of thought

The spirit still lives; however gone is its very strong pulse beat

“A fair go” was part of the OZ bible, be it in the bush or city street

For a Swagman walking by, a farmer’s wife would give tea and pie 

At a bark hut, a thin weary face shared crumbs as travelers passed by

 “Pass the hat” for a bloke down on his luck was a familiar shout

“Hand me downs” was a sign of caring and what it was all about

Such pride when we became a united people under our own flag

Yet today, some fools would replace it with a trendy Space Age rag

The misery of the Great Depression never stopped the smiles and wit

Flood, fire, famine was a battle cry to roll up sleeves and do our bit

Love of country has been proven with the blood of youth in war

The torch is ours to keep alight; we should never ask “What for?”

Today there are serious threats that we, all as one must face

Political correctness in stampede mode is crushing us at rapid pace

“Thought Police” demand what we must say and do

Mum, Dad, Family, Sweetheart, Honey and Love are now taboo  

Jesus is back on the cross and Christianity is no longer at odds on

Fair Dinkum, it’s time to rattle drums before our way of life is gone

George Mansford © March 2018

  1. What odds “Gidday mate“ will soon be on the hit list?

Editor’s comment. George’s poem has invoked memories of this poem we learnt at School

We are the sons of Australia,
Of the men who fashioned the land,
We are the sons of the women
Who walked with them, hand in hand;
And we swear by the dead who bore us,
By the heroes who blazed the trail,
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

— MARY GILMORE.

 

Poem – Our Mate Billy

There are generations of Regimental Sergeant Majors who have aged quite quickly while disciplining wayward soldiers’ intent on challenging rules and procedures or creating their own. It is also true to say that the names of such soldiers were also well known to their commanding officers, who with rare exceptions developed facial twitches whenever such names were mentioned.

In the main, these rogues were among the old hands of the unit and knew all the tricks of the trade. To them, regulations and rule were there to be ignored or manipulated in the name of a fair go for diggers. They were bush lawyers after much experience from standing to attention in front of the Colonel’s desk. It was very rare for any of them to escape punishment which I might add, they readily accepted as a “fair cop’. However they should never be confused with shirkers, jack-men or whiners who after a short time of soldiering were given incentives to seek other employment.

The larrikins I write of were known to all who wore the same badge.  Some even became legends.  In my mind, despite breaches of  Barracks discipline, they carried out demanding tasks wherever and whenever; not because of pompous orders but because they were part of the military family and believed in it.

On operations, they borrowed, traded and liberated valuable and much needed resources from neighbouring allies who had more than they required. The hierarchy on most occasions in such circumstances turned a blind eye.

History records that in the fog of war and without guidance; more than one rebel stepped forward to lead.

One of the penalties in today society is that the powerful computer is slowly but surely removing the initiatives, judgment and authority from unit commanders. There was a time when the commanding officer with the advice of the RSM would decide the future of a reprobate within the family. Today, such authority is being consumed by hungry computers which then spit out the records of offences without any knowledge of the victims they have processed.   It is all in the name of enhanced administration.

Computers do not see the hidden assets so many of these warriors demonstrate when needed.  Good commanders and their experienced junior leaders do.

I have selected a Digger called Billy who is just one of many to have trudged the military track through barrack life and in the field. He readily accepted his punishment as part of the game and no matter when or where was true blue to his comrades and unit.  So here’s to you, Billy Boy, and all the others like you who were very much part of the military family and always there when needed. Let’s hope such genes will still be soldiering long after the Space Age.

 

                 Our Mate, Billy

Billy was the nightmare of every CO and RSM

Ran the Two Up and Dice Games in many a secret den

He was known to liberate Gurkha Rum from the Q store

Often forged leave passes as long as you paid at the door

The truth or not, swearing a sacred oath on a bible was survival for him

Thus there were times that Billy, according to military law, was free of sin

A bush lawyer, he knew all the tricks of the army game

Even Generals shuddered at the mention of his name 

The story of him finding unguarded bottled beer while on a troopship is true

The feat was celebrated on the lower deck by more than a drunken few 

He rigged a Melbourne Cup sweep so no senior rank could win

Alas, before the draw, their tickets accidentally fell into the bin

Threw a wild party for the rival team the night before the big footy game

Won a fortune backing his own mob and gained more fame

A young officer still wet behind the ears claimed to be the best of the best

So extra weight was hidden in his pack and he failed the endurance test

Today’s computers would mark Billy in red and a liability to all

Yet he was always there in the field when our bugle did call

No matter the hardships, danger, the fearful unknown and mile after mile

Always he was sharing, caring and making many a weary soldier smile

Then one very sad day, our unit radios spluttered the news

Billy’s luck had run out and the grief was felt by more than a few 

Old soldiers still talk of Billy’s time and such a great mate

Even the CO and RSM bet that he has already raffled the Pearly Gates

George Mansford ©January 2018

 

Editorial Comment.
We can all recall at least one person in our Unit that fits – Our mate Billy

Paul Hogan as Pat Cleary in “The Anzacs” mini-series 1985 would be one

Poem – Regimental Square ANZAC Day, 2017

I thought “I’ll march this Anzac Day,”

To Sydney thus I’ll make my way.

But then, to set my medals straight,

I pause a moment at my gate

To ponder ‘neath the starry sky

On where I’m going to and why.

To there, the Square on George Street.

The place where all we blokes do meet.

To greet once more to have a say,

Gathered there on Anzac Day,

To think for moments in that Square

About the men no longer there.

 

 

No longer there but always there

These ghostly memories on the Square.

Their presence felt as we give thanks,

Shuffling, murmuring in their ranks,

And as the bugle calls last post

We proudly stiffen with that host.

Standing tall with all those men

Who link our presence now with then;

Their bayonets, bullets, marching feet

Providing terms on which we meet:

Our bridge, our nexus, common ground

For sharing with them that sweet sound

Which gently fades away.

Poem – Shuffling in Clanking Chains or Running Free 

         Shuffling in clanking chains or running free 

No magic wand was waved to create our precious way of life 

Our genesis was pain and misery mid terrible strife

Of clanking iron chains, the lash and a dangling noose of rope

Despite such hardships over many years, there was always hope

Dreams of a new life gathered appetite and with it came a plate

A bowl of liberty and unity that even for the hungriest did sate

With blood, sweat and tears, those before us forged a proud nation

To challenge old worlds as it reached out for tomorrow’s station  

So why in this Space Age have we ignored lessons from the past?

Bending to noisy minorities groups eroding our way of life so fast

Our national spirit blurred by ignorance, mischief, greed and conceit  

Canberra’s reckless spending sprees will cause poverty and bare feet 

Balding Wigs of Court pampering felons and ignoring their victims 

Big brother is freezing tongues and twisting truth with sly systems

Misfits wanting, yet giving naught while dawdling in life at lazy pace   

Growing contempt for law of the land and no responsibilities to face

If only we could stop this mad stampede to quicksand

To recapture precious values in family castles within our land

To once more apply commons sense and sound reason 

Fight that political correctness poisoning us more with each season

To insist on social discipline and justice so essential to our way of life

Never to blindly follow drums and bugles into terrible strife

No longer mute and blinkered but speaking out to keep us free

To honour those whose dreams became reality for you and me 

If we seek shade and sleep under a leafless tree 

What of those yet to be born in a country once free?

Never forget that our way of life is based on a fair go for all

“United we stand or divided we will fall” must always be our call

To watch our course and steer true bearings we all understand 

To decide what’s first; the whim of a few or the voice of our land  

Our pulse beat of life must be unity, vision and never doubt or fear 

Stand tall now or bow meekly to clanking chains in coming years 

George Mansford © December 2017

Poem – Train to Win not Fall

Train to Win not Fall

Always is the pain and horror of war

No different from all generations before 

Nor changed is the bible of self-preservation for all

Still the battle cry screamed at recruits “train to win; not fall’ 

 

Our military is now under fire from politically correct fools

For them, war’s a game where they ignore proven rules 

Such amateurs cannot read past lessons, even in bright light

Besides, far better with heads in the sand to appease, not fight

 

A curse on Canberra’s recruit quotas to please a few

No matter who, selecting on merit is what you must do

Common sense demands soldiers who are the best

The smartest soldier from any quota may not pass the final test

 

Special badges and pandering to some is now a space age trend 

However, if you seek unity, it’s a dangerous message to send

In war it’s all about the team facing danger together

Obeying Gods with chevrons despite fear, hunger, thirst, or weather

 

Unity and mateship are the keys. 

Mid gore, blood, and mud, there’s no time for diversity

On the Field of Mars, soldiers will be required to risk all

Always going forward if “all for one and one for all” is the call

 

Combat is the ultimate test for discipline and caring for each other

Where the best of the best become true sisters and brothers

Forget quotas and rules for “them and us” at the starting gate

War is “horses for courses” where all must carry the same weight

George Mansford ©October 2017

 

Poem – In Memory?

A  poem written by Mick Shave at  Keswick Barracks in Adelaide on 14th November 2017  at 9 RAR’s reunion and commemoration of  its 50th Anniversary.

Old soldiers never die,
They just keep on marching by,
In revue or by the right,
Their legions prove a wondrous sight
When viewed in memory.

But looking on with memory,
Shows only what we want to see.
And while illuminating youth,
It hides from us the actual truth,
Does memory.

It never shows the blood, the fear,
It obfuscates the anguished tear,
And as those shadows march on by,
Do we forget they had to die – to live
In memory?

Poem -WHY?

A proud Caesar decides on what must be done

If the noble cause is to be won

Orders are issued through the chain of command

His legions obey and prepare for more carnage in the land

The seeds of defeat and victory have been sown

Life, death, fear and courage yet to be known

Such is the bloody arena of war

And too few politicians ask the questions “What for?”

In dark surrounds, weary soldiers hear the distant bark of guns

It is the signal for bloody work to be done

Soon Into the muddy mire of combat, soldiers slip and slide

Dreams of precious loved ones faraway are cast aside

Side by side and trust in each other

With the demands and harshness of war, they become brothers

When it all ends they count their dead and no more the battle cry

Later with the sanity and calmness of peace, veterans ask “why?”

The years pass and a new Caesar is on stage with terrible ire

Preparing for the field of Mars with space age laser and fire

While his soldiers in brand new uniforms march through the streets

A war widow watches and revisits another time and quietly weeps 

She recalls dreams, laughter and sweet love as it was meant to be

Etching two names with Eros and arrow on the trunk of a shady tree

Was it so long ago when her husband had waved a last goodbye

Now her son marches to war and she too asks “Why?”

George Mansford © October 2017