Forgotten Campaigns – A Secret War

From George Mansford – Warrior Poet and Commentator on topical Events

“An old warrior by the name of John Burns made contact to advise he and other veterans of his unit who fought in Borneo, post WW2, were soon  to return there to recognize the 50th   year since the end of the war against Indonesia, commonly known as Confrontation, (1962-66).   As is the way of old soldiers returning to past battlefields, they will hold a special service to reflect on fallen comrades. John asked me if I could write a few lines for such a special occasion. I was honoured to do so.

Their visit coincides with an announcement that Australian Mints have struck special 25 cent coins marking service to country and which recognize battles/campaigns from WW1 to Afghanistan.

Sadly two campaigns, the Malayan Emergency (1948-60) and Confrontation (1962-66 ) which involved our military are not included. It would seem secrecy of “Confrontation” is still a must for some in official circles.

Personally I am of the view that if the Mints employed a military historian; he or she should be returned to a Recruit Training Centre followed by compulsory service at the Australian War Memorial for further and proper education of our proud military history.

In the meantime here is a small tribute to all those who served in what still clearly remain forgotten wars.

George Mansford April 2016

A Secret War

Soon, old warriors will gather where once they had been

A harsh cruel arena of rugged mountains and thick jungle green

Fast rivers, steamy smothering heat and drenching rains

Seeking an elusive enemy far and wide, again and again


Mute soldiers with whispers and use of hand signals to speak

Tired, hungry, thirsty and dreams of crystal clear water from a creek

Ambushing day and night and wondering what tomorrow will bring

Watching, waiting, slipping, climbing, panting and softly cur-sing


Often the unknown and unexpected that suddenly is there

A deafening mines blast or the stutter of gunfire but from where?

The shouts and screams as the drills are quickly done

Adrenalin flows, gasping for breath and wondering who lost or won


Always the ANZAC humour and caring, sharing with each other

“Up the Red Rooster” was the battle cry for this band of brothers

Today on parade, now aged with time, they still stand tall and proud

Reflecting on absent comrades as the bugle sobs loud


Far away in Canberra, old hidden records are finally to be seen

No longer sealed lips of brave deeds by young diggers in jungle green

For ages it remained a secret war and our troops were never there

On those many well-trod tracks where phantom warriors did dare

George Mansford © February 2016


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