Lizard - memoir of David Roberts

Submitted by Editorial team on Friday, 23 May 2008 - 10:11am

Night comes and a familiar sound is heard. The infamous 'f**k you' bird commences its night-time chorus. No sign of the rowdy thing but someone narrows down its locality to the sole tree on the gun position. The night is fairly peaceful except for the odd thing that goes bang in the night and the persistent bird call.

Morning and a determined effort to locate this bird is made. The reasons are twofold: one to ascertain what the damned thing looks like, and second to arrange its demise or export to other regions so that there is one less distraction to sleeping. Arthur views the suspected habitat; he sights a hole; a hand is inserted and removed rapidly after a nip. A short pause; the desire for a peaceful night asserts itself and the hand again thrusts into the hole. A short struggle and out comes the infamous 'f**k you' bird. A lizard! About 18 inches long, a dusky green base colour with regular rust red coloured spots and a nasty pair of bloodshot eyes. The horrid thing is quite disgruntled and seems to have a chip on its shoulder. It is quickly placed into an empty wooden box and left for the curious to view and wonder over.

The line to the FDC is out! Damn! It is easier for me to follow the route and away I go. The fault is a 6 foot chunk of cable missing between two trees. I have suspended the line from the rubber trees to keep it away from the ground where it can be tripped over or, have sections removed to be used for such things as guy ropes for the infantry's hoochies. It seems as though the nearby infantry have struck again. The repair is quick and easy and after a check at the FDC to see that communications have been restored I wander slowly back to the battery area.

The bird/lizard is in its box near the CP and it gives me a baleful glare as I pause to look at it. I think it knows that now it has been dragged from its happy home it is to be shipped out to unfamiliar territory. And s**t on you too mate!

The night passes without any local incidents. The lack of the lizard and his/her call is not missed and even the bangs in the night cannot spoil the pleasure of sound sleep between shifts in the CP.


Extract from unpublished memoir of David Roberts (1937-2005)


Submitted by Doc Buck on Friday, 5 June 2009 - 1:05pm


I remember the lizard, kept us awake from much needed naps while on patrol at night. I think it was a mating call. Doc Buck, US Army 1967-68

How to cite this page: 'Lizard - memoir of David Roberts ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 04-Sep-2013