3 Squadron RAAF POEMS

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 Author: Duncan BUTLER, 2/12th Field Ambulance.

Published in Patsy Adam-Smith's book: "Prisoners of War" (1992).

Japan, September 1945.  Released Australian soldiers from Naoetsu POW Camp display their flag
- hand-sewn from coloured American supply-parachutes.  [AWM 019179]


I've travelled down some lonely roads,

Both crooked tracks and straight.

An' I've learned life's noblest creed,

Summed up in one word "Mate".


I'm thinking back across the years,

(a thing I do of late)

An' this word sticks between me ears;

You've got to have a "Mate".


Someone who'll take you as you are,

Regardless of your state,

An' stand as firm as Ayres Rock

Because 'e is your Mate.


Me mind goes back to '43,

To slavery and 'ate,

When man's one chance to stay alive

Depended on 'is Mate.


With bamboo for a billy-can,

An' bamboo for a plate.

A bamboo paradise for bugs

Was bed for me and "Mate".


You'd slip and slither through the mud

An' curse your rotten fate,

But then you'd 'ear a quiet word:

"Don't drop yer bundle Mate."


And though it's all so long ago,

This truth I 'ave to state:

A man don't know what lonely means

Til 'e has lost his "Mate".


If there's a life that follers this,

If there's a Golden Gate,

The welcome I just want to 'ear

Is just, "Good on ya, Mate."


An' so to all that ask us why

We keep these special dates,

Like "ANZAC Day"

I answer: "WHY??!  - We're thinking of our MATES."


An' when I've left the driver's seat,

An' handed in me plates,

I'll tell ol' Peter at the door,

"I've come to join me Mates."


3 Squadron RAAF POEMS

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