Black and White Fellas Wearing Slouch Hats

A salute to all warriors, black, white and brindle who served together, fought together and for some, they also died together.


Old soldiers from days gone by often wonder where their mates are and how they fared in the years that followed their discharge.

At the reunions there is often the news of comrades doing it tough or have made a million, gone bush or have left the planet and so as the years go, the memories dim as the ranks grow thin. One aspect is certain; the respect and love for each other remains constant and as strong as it was when they were as young men, that “happy band of brothers.”

It began as a group of individuals from all walks of life gathered by the recruiting sergeant, heated on the forge at recruit training and then hammered into shape in a unit they came to love. A unit which was their family for all intent and purpose, of giving, sharing, protecting and enduring, often while exposed to total exhaustion, thirst and hunger.

Mate ship to them was everything. It was a helmet against fear and doubt. Their book of family rules was as a bible, held sacred and which demanded of them duty, trust, respect, battle discipline and love of country.

There was also the black humour used to overcome the loss of a comrade. On operations there were no times for parades, pomp and ceremony. In testing and dire circumstances which were often, any  mood of feeling sorry for one self was not tolerated.  The preventive to such thoughts was the bark of a sergeant to “get off your arse and start moving.”

Many of the wounded were evacuated by stretcher, others by helicopter and there were those who walked with the help of Fuzzy Wuzzy angels.  From Gallipoli to current wars, such sad departures were farewelled by nods, encouragement, a joke or the touch of a hand. Some didn’t make it and left an empty silent space within the team while others were sent home or returned to unit with a welcome of the happiest of grins from mates.

It didn’t matter who you were. Old, young, short on time or reinforcement. It was of no consequence if you were a new chum from the old world or a black fella from the back of Burke, a yokel from a country town or a smart Alek from the city. Even a Kiwi wanting to learn how to play Rugby and cricket was welcome.

You were as one and all wore the same uniform; took the same risks; shared the same rusty tin of meat and the last few drops of water. Exposed to adverse weather they shivered with the icy cold and huddled together under a wet blanket seeking body warmth from each other. They shared their dreams of their loved ones, of going home and of their tomorrows.

You had to be one of them to really understand the depth of their respect and camaraderie for each other.

It is time for the Government with icy cold water to hose down those social engineers who become hysterical when hearing such sins as a   white face painted black. Can we please have our freedom of expression and speech back? And allow our once normal life to return.

The time is well overdue for our Canberra Suits to fire a green flare and tell the world what we strive to be. One flag, one people and one nation and that political correctness is not part our future.

Thus the following scribble is a salute to all warriors, black, white and brindle who served together, fought together and for some, they also died together.


  White Fella- Black Fella as One

I am slowly drowning in political correctness, day by day

Cos unknown social engineers insist we must live their way

Years ago, they threw a much loved child’s Golliwog into a bin

Today, mention “black fella “and listen to howls of “terrible sin”

I recall soldiering days when we were young and bold

Strong memories of comrades more precious than gold

Regardless of race, no place for shirkers and always marching as one

In peace or war, we wore same uniform with the rising sun

There’s so much about soldiering that strangers wouldn’t understand

Foremost was the sworn sacred oath to defend our land 

Comradeship was a trusty shield against doubt and fear

Our bible was and remains our own sacred rules held so dear

Well aware of the risks yet always going forward as brothers 

When there was great danger, we drew comfort from each other   ,

We shared the last of the food and water, even precious dreams

It didn’t matter who your mates were; black, white or in between

Who cared what race or colour when a brother did fall

He was one of us and the same pain and grief was suffered by all

Then of course there was humour when nothing went right 

Laughter when some never had to darken a face to patrol at night

Black fellas served side by side with white fellas in peace and war

Such as Meanie, Saunders, Sanderson, Don Bowie, Buddy Lea and many more

I’d be so proud of any grandchild of mine to blacken a white face

If it was to honour such heroes as these of another race

Ignore those warped dreamers barking at our heels with loud cry

The ghosts of warriors who served our nation are slowly marching by

White fellas, black fellas and in between; all bidding a fond hooroo 

To a land, true blue, with sounds of muffled drums and didgeridoos

                                             George Mansford ©September 2016


  1. Ronald Walker says

    Dick Hill, Cec Fisher, (2RAR, MMG.)

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