Safe Journey, Cobber
In his early days of soldiering, Dutchy was on many occasions a Regimental Sergeant Major’s nightmare. However by the time he finally grounded arms he was the RSM’s right hand man and highly regarded by all ranks.
He was a soldier of many years’ experience in both peace and war and always on hand to guide young reinforcements.
In my view, our mate personified the typical digger which generations of media have tried to capture but very few have mastered. Dutchy was the typical Aussie soldier who clearly demonstrated such characteristics and qualities they sought to portray.
He was never reluctant to question authority when rules or procedures seemed unfair. Yet he was often first to lead and set the example in dire circumstances. A soldier with quick wit, he always created humour when there was a need to break the tension, be it caused by exhaustion, fear or so many other demanding challenges which faced him and his companions.
Our beloved Dutchy would never admit it but above all was his love of country and mateship which he had clearly demonstrated, time and time again throughout his soldiering years.
It was a great honour to have served alongside him in the ranks as a digger.
Sadly he has now been posted and soon will join that familiar military column wherever it may be, for ever and ever
Safe journey, Cobber
Carriage of Rum
There are so many faces of war which sadden all
Yet at times are the humorous tales which become soldiers’ lore
Such as liberating from the Company Q store, a cask of rum
There were officers’ terrible rages and threats of what would be done
A prime suspect was our mate, Dutchy, who was always in strife
He denied it all on a stack of bibles protesting “Not on your life”
Soon after he went leave Penang Island to visit family
Suffice to say his bag was checked and no cask of rum to see
The order went out, soon or late he will remove the cork
Trail him, watch and make sure he’s caught
No matter where he goes, sooner or later from the cask he will drink
So the MPs followed, waiting and waiting to prove the final link
They noted that Dutchy was a devoted father and never late
Pushing a pram and cooing his baby on visits to homes of mates
To be sure, he wasn’t too steady on his feet when homeward bound
Finally with regret they reported there was no evidence to be found
Thus in true military style, the cask of rum was written off as lost
Suspicion remained but no evidence and more pursuit at what cost?
In time the incident was forgotten and the troops came home
Many took discharge and never more to roam
Wiley as ever, Dutchy soldiered on in wars here and there
The years went by and at reunions the truth finally did dare
The rum had been in the pram swaddled in baby clothes and lace
Pushed along past the *MPs to be drunk with mates at a secure place
George Mansford © June 2017
* MPs –Military Police