Fallen Comrades –Malayan Emergency 1948-60: Malaysia’s Kamunting Rad Cemetery

I recall a few whose waves would be their last goodbyes

A band playing “Now is the hour” so very loud

Fading coastline, a silent band, and gone the cheering crowds

A bonded band of warriors, clad in jungle green thread

Ready to fight in a forgotten war with little news seen or said

Albeit a minor war, the same doubts, fear, blood, sweat and tears

Seeking a determined foe, still elusive after many long years 

Drenched with sweat or rain in torn rags, as a week before   

Sleeping on muddy rocky beds with scorpions and leaches galore 

Fitful dreams, then a whispered awakening for duty as sentry  

Listening for danger in blackness where sharp eyes couldn’t see

So many weary patrols, bent with spine breaking packs, heavy with load                                                              

Entangled with thorn and foliage, seeking a small track, to greet as a road

Relying on instinct and skills to defeat the unknown, perhaps feet away 

Where at short range, to kill or be killed, became an instant deadly fray

An ambush sprung, wounded and dead hidden by darkness of night 

Or when bumping an enemy camp; will the occupants flee or fight?

Visit Kamunting Road, and find some fallen, in a Christian cemetery 

Imagine their dreams of yesterday that will never come to be 

Returning to a happy family home in the Great Southern Land?

Or laughter and singing at a campfire near booming surf and golden sands?

And when dusk reaches out, and growing shadows signal it’s time to go 

Pause to hear faint echoes of past volleys of rifle fire saluting each hero

George Mansford © August 2021