In March 1965 when the Fifth Battalion (5RAR) was formed as a breakaway unit from the First Battalion (1RAR), its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Oxley, adopted the Tiger as the new unit’s ‘insignia’. He had adopted the idea from Shakespeare’s stirring words :
" ...But when the blast of war bows in our ears, then initiate the action of the tiger....."
- Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 3, scene 1.
♪♪ Face to face ... out in the heat ...
Hangin’ tough ... stayin’ hungry ...
They stack the odds ‘til we take to the street,
For we kill with a skill for sur-viv-al ...
It’s the eye of the tiger,
It’s the dream of the fight ...
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival …
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night,
And he’s watchin’ us all with ...
The eye of the tiger! ♪♪
- modified from the song Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, 1982.
On the Prowl
Golden lanyards and black leather,
There’s stripes and there’s brass;
Quintus leads this battalion,
‘Tigers’ all proudly march pass.
Cheers from the crowd as their mascot,
Lets out a snarl and a growl;
As if to say: “We’re off to war,
And we’re now on the prowl!”
Harboured-up in the war zone,
Alert, near the wire on the Gun,
Each straining night's pitch, for signs,
Hoping they’ll detect, not even one.
Around this circle, tense ‘tigers’,
Call in the odd falling flare,
When they sense those black phantoms,
Could be prowling out there.
And ’tis early, ‘round dawn,
When setting out from their lair,
In pack formation, now patrolling,
Occasionally to stop and just stare.
Stealthily sneaking through jungle,
During long days and each night,
Piercing eyes of these ‘tigers’,
Searching phantoms to fight.
’Tis a task unrelenting,
Through the sweat and the rain;
Like robots, sent on some mission,
Repeated over, and over, and over again.
Listening for sounds unfamiliar,
Or any signs of their prey;
Silently signalling to others:
‘Move Out!’ Getting back under-way.
They traverse swamp-lands or ridges,
Cross creeks, an odd rugged ravine;
Slush through muddy rice paddies,
See things few others have seen.
And though the hunger continues,
To drive them on in their quest,
Tired bodies surrender to minds,
Pause awhile, a short rest.
And then it happens so quickly,
There’s contact, up front, ahead;
Three ‘tigers’ are wounded,
And several phantoms lie dead.
At last, it’s time to return,
Getting dark way out there;
Head back to that mountain,
As protection, home in their lair.
Today, those jungles, mere memories,
For ‘boys’ now turned to old men;
And they pray that their own sons,
Never have to do that again.
As one looks down the lines,
None in the crowd can ignore,
There’s few smiles on those faces,
And fewer than what marched before.
As the years have passed by,
At the going down of each Sun,
Total numbers dwindle in size,
Slowly fading, one by one.
Remainder shuffle, barely march,
Unlike they once did before;
Yet, some in the crowd still remember,
When they proudly prowled off to war.
On the Prowl