Do You Remember?


 Do you remember the date, twenty-one Feb, sixty-seven,
 when five of our mates were blown clear up to heaven;
 when the driver and commander of our rumbling track
 were killed by the blast from a mined booby trap?

 Do you remember the screams of mates who lay dying
 while all else was silence, like the shock before crying;
 and the medic was one of the dead on the ground;
 and no one dared move ‘coz more mines were around?

 Do you remember our weapons that were lost in the blast
 and all we could do was sit still on the grass?
 Our training demanded that our eyes keep on searching
 but we could do nothing in that hellish damn clearing.

 Do you remember the “Possum” and the bloke who got out?
 He walked up the track but was stopped by a shout,
 ”Another bloody step and I’ll shoot you me-self!”
 And he said, “Shoot if you must but I got wounded to help.”

 Do you remember that bloke and the calmness he showed
 as he tended each digger as their blood quietly flowed?
 No equipment ‘cept that which he found layin’ ‘round:
 do you remember watching him without a damn sound?

 Do you remember his voice, as he demanded your help
 to get him a bandage or to apply first aid yourself?
 Do you remember forgetting the fact there were mines
 as he triggered your instincts to save your mates’ lives?

 Yes you remember… you remember it well
 because how can you forget those times shared in hell?
 And you can remember because you’re alive.
 Perhaps you’d be dead had that bloke not arrived.


 ©Anthony W. Pahl
 31st January 2001


 This is the true story of 4 Platoon, 5RAR (Royal Australian Regiment) who got caught in a minefield in a
 clearing Vietnam on 21 February 1967.  Five members of the platoon were killed outright; another died 3
 days later.  The diver and the commander of the APC were both killed instantly and all but 3 of the
 platoon were wounded.


 The platoon is having a reunion on February 20th 2002. One member, who has become a personal friend
 over several years, asked if I would write a poem to present to the Doctor who was the bloke who got of
 the “Possum” helicopter (Bell Bubble) and who walked through the minefield in order to save the lives of
 many of the platoon members.  He will be present at the reunion so it is a great honour to have been
 asked to write about a very brave man.