For  God,  Queen  and  Country

For  God,  Queen  and  Country


Forty odd years since that day,
In a dry paddy of rice,
‘Ted’ Lloyd wrapped in green plastic,
Paying the supreme sacrifice. 

Home town’s folk, in ‘The Coalfields’,
Lining Kurri Kurri’s main street;
Sea of flowers and tears,
Mourners marched to drum beat. 

And in the tragic cortège,
Parents led the black line;
Nothing but memories,
Thanks to a ‘Jumping Jack’ mine. 

Hanging above the main bar,
In that old pub on the hill,
I now see his young photo,
Some here remember him still. 

Ambling through his graveyard,
Inscriptions hid any pain;
Which others were cheated?
How many lie here in vain? 

Golden words, long faded,
Tombstone leans slightly to one side:
‘For God, Queen and Country!’
Supposedly for them, he had died. 

Unreal from our view,
Images of ‘Outback’ and beaches,
Paint a false history,
Ignoring all that it teaches. 

One century now passed,
Since Australia first went to war;
Repeated every few years,
Since we first fought the Boer. 

Scenes revealed on a screen,
Revolutions break out again;
Beijing, Bangkok and Timor,
And both Gulf Wars were insane. 

Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda,
Are promoting their terrorist cause,
And whilst Iraq seemed so distant,
Bali was quite close to our shores! 

A jungle camp at Canungra,
Aids a potential close threat;
Training troops from our neighbour,
Let’s hope, with no long-term regret. 

When the winds of war, come once more,
Who will stand next here in line?
To die ‘For God, Queen and Country!’
Will it be your son, or mine?


©

 

      Richard Lloyd was a first grade cricketer in Kurri Kurri. His army mates nicknamed him ‘Ted’ after the English cricket team’s captain Ted Dexter. This is a tribute poem to ‘Ted’ Lloyd whose death was the first of more than 100 Australians, victims of mines planted on ‘The Fence’, in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam (see poem under that title).        

                                                    “We die only once! And for such a long time!”                                                                                                                                                                         -  Jean Baptiste Molière, 1670. 

                                         “Old soldiers never die! … No! . Only the young ones do!”  -  Anon.