Poetry - Tiger Battalion

Missing From Action - Long Tan 18 August 1966

Why he missed the battle
Where Diggers outnumbered
Fought above their weight
In the rubber trees of Long Tan.

D Company against a Regiment
Surprise turns to heroism
As they fought the odds
And reinforcements summoned.

Old classmate Frank one
Of the first to die there
In the rain and mud – and blood –
And young lives aged in a flash.

Sorry Frank, not in country
Kept back home by wounds
Before the battle, barbecue
Burns while on 'pre-em' leave.

Frank was one of eighteen
Who died defying the odds
For a battle noted in history
Another of the Digger legend.

Months later we passed through
Where the battle had raged
Felt a breeze though it was calm
As sentry ghosts stirred, calling:
"Who Goes There?"

(To Frank Topp, died at Long Tan, Vietnam, 18 August, 1966.)
(The author was a classmate of Frank’s older brother Bernie and knew Frank at Downlands College,
Toowoomba. Kerry served in Vietnam after Long Tan with 5th Battalion RAR.)


© Kerry White
B Company Vietnam 1st Tour

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