An Unofficial Handicap – George Mansford

For Moff, a true blue mate and Digger.


A reinforcement arrived to join our happy band

A smart arse who never tried to understand

Such was his manner he was given the thumbs down

His presence caused friction and certainly lots of frowns

So we turned to our hero, Moff, who was surely one of the best

To sort out this bloke who didn’t want to soldier with the rest

Moff, an old veteran, listened and played the cards close to his chest


Then came the annual test; a nine mile run with rifle, equipment and pack

If you failed to finish in the time given then it was worse than getting the sack

The day arrived and our platoon was at the start line waiting to go

The “Salvos” turned up with a brew and to say hello

Moff stayed with our gear all left in a neat line

We returned to our packs to see him wink that all was fine

The whistle blew and we all took off, determined to finish in time


It was a very tough run under a boiling hot sun

Halfway, the new chum was puffing and blowing as if carrying a ton

With a mile to go he was way behind as the rest ran on as one

All met the time limit, well, that is, all except one

The major cursed “what a bloody disgrace”

The RSM raved and ranted “One of my soldiers has failed the race”

We weren’t sorry to see our smart alek in such a pathetic state

As he staggered to and fro wondering his fate


We headed home on the truck with all aboard

The dejected soldier sat staring at his pack then uttered “Oh gawd”

A scream as he opened the pack to find a large rock as extra weight

It was then he realised he had been nobbled at the starter’s gate

The years have passed and after several more wars Moff is still around

We gather at the odd reunion and old stories do abound

Including the one of the annual tests and the famous race

When a smart arse with extra weight in his pack failed to keep the pace


George Mansford©July 2011

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