Pine Tree - Poem

Submitted by Richard Willia… on Thursday, 25 September 2008 - 3:00pm

In memory of Terry 'Pine Tree' Hollows, DOW July 1969. My dearest friend.

He stood so tall he could touch the sky
This lad from Whangarei
On parade one day he began to laugh
So the Sergeant came his way

The Sergeant was tall yet he looked up
And we heard him say with glee
What are you laughing for Pine Tree

From that day on his name stuck fast
And we became the best of friends
In training we went through thick and thin
But we made it to the end

At Burnham we were allocated
The weapons we could use
Pine Tree chose the GPMG
And I was his number two

In the war games that we practised
A team being one we had to pass
We slept, fought and ate together
And covered each others a**e

For each other we were the helping hand
To ease our aches and pains
We shared the chores, the load we carried
And made each other laugh when it rained

Then we went to Terendak
Where the training went on and on
Ambush and contact drills, maintaining weapons and ammo
We had to get it right one slip and we could be gone

Malaya also introduced us to its jungle
The insects and the snakes
The ants were vicious the spiders huge
And every creepy crawly would make us shake

The hot humid climate
Made us drink more and more
Having no water was a harsh lesson to learn
So it became as precious as our weapons of war

As we progressed in our training
the 'J' became our friend
We moved more silently through the undergrowth
without disturbing them critters and all that lived therein

By the time we reached Vietnam
Pine Tree and I had bonded well
For the first two months
We had lots of laughs and oh the stories to tell

Yes there were lots of stories
but we were there to fight a war
On patrol I always walked in Pine Trees foot steps
we were itching to make a score

We made contact with the enemy several times
And we fought side by side
The proof of our training came to the fore
We felt safe and it kept us alive

And then came that fateful day
In July of 1969
We were preparing to go on patrol
When I was told 'you stay behind'

When Pine Tree and five others
Did not return from that patrol
Not being there with my dearest friend
For me was a heavy toll

I carried the gun for the rest of the tour
Thinking little of that tragic day
For years and years I immersed myself in work
To keep those memories at bay

But now I’m getting old and grey
The shadows are creeping in
Staying back certainly saved my life
But that’s where it all begins

Richard Hamon, W2 Coy, 1968-69

© Richard William Hamon. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: ' Pine Tree - Poem ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 05-Sep-2013