Poetry - Tiger Battalion

In April 1966, the First Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment marched through the streets of Sydney in a 'Welcome Home' parade. A protester, drenched in red paint ran from the crowd and threw herself onto the commanding officer leading the parade smearing him with paint supposedly as a symbol of the spilled blood of the Vietnamese — That was their welcome home. Bill penned this poem and it describes the deep sadness and anger that many veterans have experienced at the hands of some Ant-Vietnam protesters.

The Saddest Day of All

We marched down the street,
With red paint at our feet.
And the blood of our mates Scarcely dried.

Amidst all the cheers,
There were heckles and jeers.
And at the steps of the Town Hall, I sighed.

But we stepped it out proud,
With the drums beating loud,
And the trial of our honour At stake.

Then the thought of our men,
Who would not march again,
Was more than my body Could take.

For they sent us as boys,
On one of their ploys,
And we each with a heart, Tried and true.

Complied with the rest,
As we gave them our best,
When nothing but total Would do.

But their honour to taint,
With the spilling of paint,
On these soldiers who answered The call.

Was a slur on the brave,
Who lie in the grave,
And this was the saddest Of all.


© Bill Charlton

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