The ANZAC Spirit Still Lives

Not so long ago I was privileged to observe young soldiers of the space age training for war.  They impressed me, not because of their military skills, (there was little time to assess) but clearly evident were the characteristics so essential for soldiers.

Although weary and desperate for sleep, without exception they still have that familiar grin seen so many times under a battered slouch hat in even the most harshest and challenging circumstances.

Their officer is still boss or skipper. They speak with confidence and with sense of purpose. Most evident even in such a short visit was the strong bond between them; pride in who they were and the regimental badge they wore.

Today’s military has more challenges than ever before and given  instant media reporting, all ranks require an exceptional high standard of tolerance and self- discipline.

Soldiers have enlisted from an ever increasing soft and spoilt society yet must be capable of confronting the trials and terrible demands of war which remain constant regardless of time. Thus there is a need for each progressive generation to be trained even harder in mental and physical toughness to endure all. Such needs are not helped by ever increasing political correctness and Occupation Health and Safety. 

They still have the familiar nicknames for each other, as did their great grandfathers and some, although not complimentary and which would fail today’s political correctness test are meant with immense affection.  

No matter be it peace or war, the basic essentials of soldiering do not change including discipline, loyalty, love of country and devotion to duty. They possess all of such qualities as well as their great grandfathers’ mischief, sense of purpose and respect for each other and above all, the strongest asset of all, mate-ship.

It’s London to a Brick that the ANZAC spirit is very much alive.

George Mansford

He Still Lives

Gone you say

How can this be?

Such a man as he

This brave warrior from yesterday

 

He’s there wherever memories roam

Laughing, caring, sharing

Risking all for others and ever daring

So many dreams of the land he calls home

 

He often tested authorities with mischief abound  

Never excited by Generals and other red hats

Called his officer, boss or skipper and that was that

Yet in the field, battle discipline always to be found 

 

How often a crumpled letter read, so precious, so dear

Studying a faded photo of loved ones as we waited the call  

Then as the order was given to rise and enter Mars Hall

His humour with familiar grin calmed doubts and fear

 

His name on many a proud history page

Brave duty and love of country for all to read

So rich with honour are his deeds

He still stands tall and proud on life’s stage

 

Gone you say

How can this be?

His strong seeds now grown for all to see

He still lives this very day.

George Mansford © November 2015