© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons
The following 4 poems were submitted (Aug-2006) by Sep Owen of 459
THE OLD GREY MARE SHE AINT WHAT SHE USED TO
(nor is the old grey stallion)
Sobbed to a man to a tart in Valencia,
Alas, due to senile dementia,
I forgot what to do when I meet girls like you,
Who offer me sexy adventure!
That last verse might seem quite uncouth,
But is meant to convey the sad truth
Namely, don’t ever doubt
That some talents wear out,
So, young men, make the most of your youth!
ODE TO MATRIMON(E)Y
From my earliest days, one fact I was taught
Was that O is a symbol for ‘no’, ‘nil’ or ‘nought’.
The above knowledge, most of my life I have carried,
Including the decades since I was married.
In those lkong ago decades before I was wed,
Seldom, if ever, was I in the red,
I was never a spendthrift – that point I must stress,
My book always balanced, i.e. more or less.
I was never a man who’d speak ill of his wife,
So I’m not blaming mine for my grim fiscal strife,
But since I’ve been paired with that cuddlesome pet,
I have seldom, if ever, been long out of debt.
So beware, you young lover-boys, don’t be misled,
Not that O is the difference between “Owed” and “Wed!”.
Or putting it another way ……..
There’s an answer to this question I never could to gather,
And the frown that I’m wearing I have no doubt shows it:
Having given my loved one an open slather,
Could somebody tell me how I can close it?
SALUTE TO A WOMAN OF PRINCIPLE
My wife is very thoughtful, as I now will illustrate,
It is one of her many virtues which I can hardly overstate.
Another worthy principle on which she’s quite insistent,
Is to practice what she preaches—and always be consistent!
Thus, before leaving the supermarket, this practice she has learned:
Ensure that the details on the bill are fair to all concerned.
While still in the checkout queue, no visit of her is complete
Till she’s thoroughly checked each item recorded on her receipt
Should perchance she be overcharged, I hardly need to mention
That she promptly brings this error to the management’s attention.
(it’s not selfish motivation which prompts her to do so—
just that she feels the management would like to be let known.)
But to make herself a nuisance is not at all like her,
And, being very thoughtful, she knows errors must occur.
So when reference to one of her purchases is missing from her list,
Her impulse to correct things she will, thoughtfully resist.
When our upstairs neighbour has a binge
He tends to come home reeling,
Making his floor reverberate,
(That is, our bedroom ceiling).
Returning from a recent spree
With drinking mates in town,
His thudding, drunken footsteps sent
Our lampshade crashing down!
To me, quite busy at the time,
This proved a dire distraction,
Likely to strain “good neighbour” ties
Much more than just a fraction.
It’s true the lampshade didn’t break---
It wasn’t even cracked
In no time flat I’ll have it back,
Secure, pristine, intact.
But just the same, it made me sob!
(My wife was seldom tearier!)
You’d understand if you could see
The bruise on my posterior.
The following song was submitted by Thomas "Tom" Hancock - 459
One incident will always remain in my memory. Four young Australian boys occupied the tent next to ours, they had a wind up gramophone and were always playing a song I had only heard through them, I quote it here, I often sing it to anyone interested! Tom Hancock
Grandma's parcel was a sweet surprise to me,
Grandma's parcel was as welcome as could be,
The socks were warm and cosy,
Just the size I take,
And Sergeant wants to swap his stripes for Grandma's home made cake,
She's an angel and there's little she forgets,
It's like heaven smoking Grandma's cigarettes,
So tell her that I love her,
As you kiss her tenderly,
Say Thank You for the parcel Grandma sent to me.
The Flying Instructors Lament
The following poem was submitted by Norm Gilham - 454.
My pupil is a headache I do not want.
He maketh me to fly over green pastures,
He leadeth me beside high-tension wires,
He ruineth my nerves.
Why, for Heaven's sake?
Yea, though I fly in the clearest of days
Yet do I feel much evil,
For he is with me,
An his flying doth terrify me.
He prepareth to crash before me,
In the face of all my teacher.
He filleth my head with trouble,
My mug runneth over.
Surely terror and strife will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of lunatics forever.
The following poems were submitted from John Talbot 459.
"Hai Lee" the hell ship to Takioradi on the Gold Coast (now Ghana). The aircrews were hard put to maintain morale over that time, but succeeded by various expedients, including playing cards a lot.
Assisted a little by the other NCOs, David Barnard turned to versifying to record their situation.
Although scarcely great literature, here are two pieces of doggerel which resulted:
1. (Author unknown, but probably a joint effort):-
We bitched a lot, we swore
We made our presence felt
We sweated in the heat and cursed
The hand that Fate had dealt
Some bully beef and jam
Some bacon and some stew
Some rancid butter and sour bread
Was all the food we drew
The same each lifelong day
Monotonous and dull
Never a cool refreshing breeze
Disturbed the tropic lull
Complaints we made - ignored
So we became resigned
We laughed and joked about the food
As if we didn't mind
But still we are sustained
We think of Home and Peace
Despite the hardship and the toil
Our striving will not cease
And when this war is won
We'll reminisce with zest
About the travails which are done
And be content to rest.
2. (By David Barnard):-
Into the waiting launch
The motley rabble filed
The baggage wogs and dusky men
In thick confusion piled
A short trip down the bay
Aboard our vessel we climbed
A dirty stinking coastal tub
With grease and slime begrimed
We waited two whole days
Before we passed the boom
Two days of stench and tropic haze
Of sultry heat and gloom
With cockroaches and ants
And vermin all around
The Hai Lee was a hell ship
For Takoradi bound
The crew, a motley mob
Of Chinks and insolent wogs
Oft fought and bickered among themselves
And snarled like angry dogs
The hazards of our trip
Impressed us not at all
For many convoy miles have passed
And we have yet to fall
We spent each day at bridge
With scarce a thought or care
Our one consoling thought became
"It's one day less to bear".
LILY OF THE DESERT
"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its fragrance in the air".
Egypt, land of the Pharoahs, consists of four things; the Nile Delta, the desert, tar brushes and boot blacks. The Egyptians live in the Delta and wear tar brushes, the English live in the desert and the bootblacks live on the English.
The Egyptians, with their glamorous and yashmaked women, dwell on the fertile and alluvial plain 'neath the cool green foliage of fruitful date palms and verdant eucalypts. The English and Desert Lilies share the sterile arid and waterless waste.
The "Desert Lily": - Lilium potorum var kerostinium - sometimes Petrolinium - was unknown to Linaeus, and never classified by him. Recent botanic research has finally determined it as the above. Appaarently it is an extraordinary mutation, and very high in the scale of evolution. It has acclimatised itself, and now , like the English, thrives in the desert.
The origin of The Desert Lily is unknown. It is an exotic species. Nature probably introduced it as a necessity. This modern variety, Kerosintinium, grows on a sandy soil, with a stoney rubble like sub-soil 2'6" to 3' in height. It has a simple bulbous taproot. The paucity of roots needing frequent watering. It reproduces by 'cuttings', never by budding or grafting. Irresponsible lorry drivers often cut short the seedling in its youth. When young, the bark has a hyshine bloom, but being very susceptible, rapidly succumbs to the 'rust' fungus, which usually extends over its entire surface.
The stem seldom branches, but bends at the mode and leans toward the direction of the prevailing wind. This chemotactic attraction of the prevailing wind is only partly understood, probably again the result of necessity. When the archeologists of posterity dig up and discover "Desert Lilies", they will exclaim... "Ah ah, the English wined, dined and drank beer here.
A RADAR MECH'S PROMOTION
The following poem was written Wilf Darby (June '94) and was included in the Addendum to the 50th Anniversary Booklet issued with the Xmas 1994 Bulletin
Remember back in '42
When we put on Air Force blue?
We were young and so naive,
expect to wear a ring on sleeve!
Don't you remember? C'mon, confess,
You surely fell for the B.S.!
Later - an idea, a notion -
There'd be no damn promotion
On either side of that bloody ocean.
Rumours flew - so much 'duff gen'.
Posted here, there now and then.
Studied airborne - a ground course too.
Texas beckoned, both me and you.
There, as guests of the U.S.A.,
Did you get to Monterey, or Houston, Dallas,
Remember, we trained with old Tyrone!
(Tyrone Power that is)
Back to Clinton - short stay, at least.
Then posted to - the Middle East.
Boyhood yarns of history,
Africa, with all its mystery.
Place names with romantic sounds,
Chinese Gordon and Beau Geste towns:
Lagos, Accra, Kano, Khartoum.
Any promotions yet?
....It's too damn soon!
No longer don our Air Force blue,
It's khaki battle dress, quite new.
By desert train, go "up the blue",
Through Alemain and mersa Matruh,
Sidi Birani and Tobruk too.
And....sure enough -
Recall the green of Wadi El Kuf?
Flies, fleas and grit, they do us greet.
Bare ground was our bed and no groundsheet,
You're an L.A.C. and that's your lot.
Get a commish and they provide a cot.
Expect there were personnel, who..
Happened to be stationed at Cairo, H.Q....
Sand in our hair, ears, eyes and nose,
Sand in our tea, food, bed and clothes.
Rations we shared with the flies and fleas,
As time went by, we browned our knees.
From time to time, I will confess,
"Where in the hell is the R.C.A.F.?"
Foolish lad, I almost forgot,
The R.C.A.F. gave us no thought.
Two years passed and, H.Q., of course,
"Joed" radar mech's to the Tiger Force.
The posting's cancelled, the signal stated,
Because the Japs had -- capitulated.
So, my friend, just like thee,
I left the Force on L.A.C.,
There came then - an unusual twist
A request from "them" to re-enlist.
With no vacancies in Air Commodores' ranks,
My response was brief,
I said: "No Thanks".
We came back from overseas,
Went our ways and earned degrees.
One became a biologist,
Another an oil geologist.
Doctor, lawyers, engineers - it's true.
There were even a C.A. or two.
And -- what's more,
Won promotions by the score.
Can't say the same for personnel, who -
Served at H.Q. with their lower I.Q.
Gotcha! Gotcha! Gotcha!
Provided by -- Ken Rimmer [RAF] -454 RAAF Squadron
Words were written to be sung to the tune of the Rifle Song depicting the spirit of 454 Squadron.
"Ho cast your eye toward the high sky
Ho, up on high you'll see us flying
O'er for we are out on a raid
No, by flak we'll not be dismayed
Ho, devastation in formation
So, to your guns you Huns
Yes man your stations
For the eagles up in the blue
Are out to strike hard and true
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