Poetry - Tiger Battalion

Roy 'Zeke' Mundine 5 RAR


I was 20 years old when I first met Zeke
He was older than me but still at his peak.
The Army life seemed to suit him back then,
And he looked after his boys like an old mother hen.

He was sarcastic and dry, but full of good fun,
And no better soldier ever carried a gun.
His locker was crammed with suits and fine clothes.
There were none better-dressed when an occasion arose.

He excelled at Rugby and was as fit as the rest.
His complete Army skills could outstrip the best.
And he could out-spin the best in the land.
When out on the town I had seen him first hand.

A plantation owner in Malaya no less,
What he would be next time was anyone's guess!
People believed every word that he said,
As he played out each part off the top of his head.

We travelled by train to Newcastle one night.
He was worried about someone that he had to fight.
So at Fassifern he opened his case to reveal
All this medical gear, up till now he'd concealed.

There were bandages that he wrapped, all round his head.
A full plaster cast that went on his left leg.
His right arm in plaster was held by a sling.
He looked like a patient from the Emergency Wing.

"A real bad car accident!" he said with a smile.
"That should keep him at bay for awhile!"
There was nothing this digger wouldn't do for a joke.
Good-natured, good-humoured, he was that kind of bloke.

In South Vietnam he was wounded, more dead than alive,
Only Zeke had the strength and the will to survive.
As a young soldier's mentor, none were finer than he.
I salute you Roy Mundine, you're a legend to me!


© Bill Charlton

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