Salute Our Metal Chariots from Yesterday

                Dedicated to Jack Lynch and all the others who flew the metal chariots night and day

Does the sound of a helicopter bring back memories, you ask?

Yes, like a flash, no matter where I am or whatever my task

So many flickering fragmented scenes I can hear and see

Of courage, mateship, humour as well as death and misery

The sound of rotor blades is an electric link to the past for me

In an arena of hostile green, strange and far from anywhere

A gladiator’s simple delight was hearing faint wockings in the air

As each turn of the beating blades grew louder in familiar tone

The sound was a strong message that you were far from being alone

It signaled a precious link to your distant and beloved home


When such trusty machines landed with resupply and precious mail

It raised spirits (a scented letter from a sweetheart never did fail)

It was so comforting to read that all was well with family far away

The magic of the pen provided powerful strength for many a day

Sharing news and dreams in whispers at night wherever we lay


The metal chariots brought fresh young faces to join our weary band

From civilian street in peaceful OZ to cannon fodder in a foreign land

They were eager to do well and yet with a touch of doubt and fear

Like all reinforcements on day one, wet behind the ears

They had to learn fast and be prepared for pain and tears


Many times this noisy bird hovered to winch out wounded and dead

Supported by the gunships which spat out death at the enemy ahead

They were our umbilical cord with a world of sanity so far way

Always was the excitement when the Woks came to take us home

To shower, eat fresh food, drink and sleep before again we did roam


Now our ranks are thinner and for missing comrades, often a tear

We still march proud on that special day every year

High above is the haunting noise we knew so well from yesterday

An ancient metal warrior passes by, beating blades as if in a fray

And you ask me if the sound brings back memories this very day?

George Mansford © November 2016

Listen to the Huey sounds here, especially the last 45 seconds.


  1. Oh so poignant, the beating of those rotor bladed meant so much to so many, especially the grunts like us, it meant re-sup, R&R, home and so much more, I live under a flight path into Bankstown airport and are constantly reminded of what we did, daily…

  2. Steven kennedy says

    My father did 2 tours of Vietnam with the SAS. He ha spoken of hearing the Huey choppers coming in to get his patrol out of a nasty place. How amazed he was at the bravery of Australian crews that came for them. I am very grateful that Yu bought him home . Thankyou. Many years later I was to join up and serve n the 2/4 RAR and those same helicopters I am sure came and got me sometimes too. Memories Wok wok

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