For Like minded people who like to see-
I thought it appropriate to bypass the politicians tomorrow for Remembrance Day and post this to Just Grounds. Later, if I can find an old photograph of a Light Horseman I will ask my son in law to create an illuminated address to The Anzac on the Wall and perhaps get it published. Here it is. The author is unknown. The Stewart here is no relation
I wandered through a country town, 'cos I had some time to spare,
And went into an antique shop, to see what was in there.
Old bikes, and pumps, and kero lamps, but hidden by it all,
Was a photo of a soldier boy - an Anzac on the Wall.
'The Anzac have a name?' I asked. The old man answered 'No,
The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago.
The old man kept on talking, and according to his tale,
The photo was unwanted junk, bought from a clearance sale.
'I asked around,' the old man said, 'but no one knows his face,
He's been on that wall for twenty years, but deserves a better place.
For some one must have loved him so, it seems a shame somehow.'
I nodded in agreement and said, 'Well,I'll take him now.'
My nameless digger's photo, well it was a sorry sight,,
A cracked glass pane and a broken frame - I had to make it right.
To prise the photo from its frame, I took care just in case,
'Cause only sticky paper, held the cardboard back in place.
I peeled away the faded screed, and much to my surprise,
Two letters and a telegram, appeared before my eyes.
The first revealed my Anzac's name, and regiment of course,
John Mathew Francis Stewart - of Australia's own Light Horse.
This letter written from the front, my interest now was keen,
This note was dated August seventh, 1917.
'Dear Mum, I'm at Khalasa Springs, not far from the Red Sea,
They say it's in the Bible - but it looks like a billabong to me.
'My Kathy wrote I'm in her prayers, she's still my bride-to-be,
I just can't wait to see you both, you're all the world to me.
And Mum, you'll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out,
I told him to call on you, when he's finally up and about.'
'That Bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny,
When he lobbed a Turkish hand grenade, into the CO's dunny.
I told you how he dragged me wounded, in from no man's land,
Then stopped the bleeding and closed the wound, with only his bare hand.'
'Then he copped it at the Front, from some stray shrapnel blast,
It was my turn to drag him in, and I thought he wouldn't last.
He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind,
'Cos out there on the battlefield, he'd left one leg behind.'
'He's been in a bad way Mum, he knows he'll ride no more,
Like me, he loves a horse's back -- he was a champ before.
So, please Mum, can you take him in, he's been like my brother,
Raised in a Queensland orphanage, he' s never known a mother.'
But strewth, I miss Australia Mum, and in my mind each day,
I'm still a mountain cattleman, on high plains, far away.
I'm mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel's hump in sight,
And I even waltz my 'Matilda', by a campfire every night.
I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down,
I'll always love you, and please say 'Hooroo', to all of those in town'.
The second letter I could see, was in a lady's hand,
An answer to her soldier son, there in a foreign land.
Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean,
It bore the date November 3rd, 1917.
'Twas hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war,
I'd hoped you would be home by now - each day I miss you more'
'Your Kathy calls around a lot, since you have been away,
To share with me her hopes and dreams, about your wedding day.
And Bluey has arrived - and what a godsend he has been,
We talked and laughed for days, about the things you've done and seen'
'He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,
I read the same hope in his eyes, that you won’t come to any harm.
Mc Connell's kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed
We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange.'
'Last Wednesday just on midnight, with not a single cloud in sight,
It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright.
It really spooked your Billy - and he screamed and bucked and reared,
And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared'
'They brought him back next afternoon, but something's changed I fear,
It's like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near.
Remember when you caught him, with his black and flowing mane?
Now Horse breakers fear the beast, that only you can tame.'
'That's why we need you home son' - then the flow of ink went dry-
This letter was unfinished, and I couldn't work out why.
Until I started reading. the missive number three,
A faded yellow telegram, with news of tragedy.
Her son was killed in action - Oh!, What pain that must have been,
The Same date as her letter - November, ‘17.
This letter which was never sent, became then one of three,
She sealed behind the photo's face - the face she longed to see.
And John's home town's old timers - children when he went to war,
Would say no greater cattleman, had left the town before.
They knew his widowed mother well - and with respect did tell
How when she lost her only boy, she lost her mind as well.
She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak,
'My Johnny's at the war you know , he's coming home next week.'
They all remembered Bluey, he stayed on to the end,
A younger man with wooden leg, became her closest friend.
And he would go and find her, when she wandered old and weak,
And always softly say 'Yes dear – John ‘ll be home next week.'
Then when she died, Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say,
I tried to find out where he went, but don't know, to this day.
And Kathy never wed - a lonely spinster some found odd,
She wouldn't set foot in a church - she'd turned her back on God.
John's mother left no will, I learned on my detective trail,
This explains my photo's journey, to that clearance sale.
So I continued digging, 'cause I wanted to know more,
I found John's name with thousands, in the records of the war.
His last ride proved his courage - a ride you will acclaim,
The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba, of everlasting fame.
That last day in October, back in ‘17,
At 4pm our brave boys fell - that sad fact I did glean.
That's when John's life was sacrificed, the record's crystal clear,
But 4pm in Beersheba, is midnight over here.......
So as John's gallant spirit, crossed the great divide,
Were the lightning bolts back home, a sign from the other side?
Is that why Billy bolted, and went racing as in pain?
Because he'd never feel his master, on his back again?
Was it coincidental? Same time - Same day - Same date?
Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
I think it's more than that, you know, as I've heard wiser men,
Acknowledge there are many things, that go beyond our ken
Where craggy peaks guard secrets, 'neath dark skies torn asunder,
Where hoofbeats are companions, to the rolling waves of thunder.
Where lightning cracks like 303's, and ricochet again,
Where howling moaning gusts of wind, sound like dying men.
Some mountain cattlemen, have sworn on lonely track,
They've glimpsed a huge black stallion, with a Light Horseman, on his back.
"No", sceptics say, "it's swirling clouds, just forming apparitions",
Oh no my friend, you can't dismiss, all this as superstition.
The desert of Beersheba - or windswept Aussie range,
John Stewart rides forever there - Now, I don't find that strange.
Those who gaze this photo, often question me,
And I tell them a small white lie, and say he's family.
'You must be proud of him' they say, - and I tell them, one and all,
'That's why he takes the pride of place - my Anzac on the Wall'.
Hi to All. These guys fought bravely, and should be recognized for their wonderful efforts and lose of life, fighting alongside our boys all under the Australian Flag. I think I saw written somewhere describing the aboriginal thinking of Anzac day a party that they haven’t never been invited too. I’m not aboriginal at all, born and bred Aussie, and I didn’t like what happen on Australia day burning of our wonderful flag for whatever reason that was about. But these guys fort bravely along side with our guys, and so should be made to feel every bit important, that had played a brave and scary part and loss of life and had their very souls taken from them never to return home. I feel all of us need to be reminded that the aboriginal did fight alongside our guys, and our white guys treated them as a regular Harry Ben and Joe while fighting alongside for their very life’s together to protect one another, and so they should have a very special part in our celebration of the Aboriginal Anzacs who lost their lives.
You just don’t hear enough of the Aboriginal who fought so bravely.