Saccharin - Poem

Submitted by Richard Willia… on Friday, 14 November 2008 - 1:20pm

Poem by Richard Hamon, Whiskey 2 Company 1RNZIR, 1968-1969. 

We were the leading section
Number two of Two Platoon
Patrolling to reach open ground
We had to get there soon

We had eaten all our rations
And needed to get some more
Three days worth was our usual quota
Along with other stores

Within a thousand clicks we were
And our pace was on the rise
Clatter tat tat CONTACT FRONT!!!
The enemy took us by surprise

I ran forward and to the left
My M60 now barking in reply
The AK47s kept on with their clatter
Their mission was for us to die

We were now in extended line
When I heard the section commander yell
Gunner! The bottom of the bamboo
Fifty one o’clock, give ‘em hell

I stood shooting at its base
I could see where the rounds were falling
Sweeping the gun back and forth
It was working the enemy was stalling

I let the gun have its head as the section pressed onward
To where Charlie was hiding
A frantic volley of suppressive fire came
We ducked and on the ground it kept us lying

Back and forth we went the section
Now taking all the flak
But our relentlessness meant nothing
Old Charlie was fighting back

The platoon had formed a triangle
To cover the sides and rear
It was easy for each section to take the front
Just rotate and you were there

Old Charlie had kept his ground
Repelling every attack we made
We had been at it for five to six hours
And there was nothing we had gained

It was now late in the afternoon
I was getting short of ammo and had no food
I grabbed my water bottle yahoo!!
A vile of Saccharin* tablets that changed my mood

I crunched a couple of them damn things
And swilled the sweetness away
Yuk what a taste but at least it was something
To get me through the day

The thunderous roar of air and artillery support
Majestic as it was
Didn’t seem to bother Charlie
He was extra tenacious to his cause

Choppers came with the ammo we needed
We made our mark on the ground
They hovered above the trees
Crates came crashing all around

Each section in turn claimed their ammo
Our security had held throughout
Then it was back to old Charlie
We had to root him out

And although we fought tirelessly on
Old Charlie didn’t budge an inch
The night had rolled in fast
It was now as black as pitch

Gunships did their dance of death
While choppers dropped more supplies
Thank God for the Fly Boys
They certainly earned their prize

For the rest of the night we kept a vigil
Not sure what Charlie had in mind
But by morning we had our answer
An empty bunker he left behind

Cunningly Old Charlie had played us
Like a carrot on a string
Enough to keep us busy and our heads down
While he scarpered with everything

Joined by the rest of the Company
An inspection of the bunker began
We were soon to learn that it was one of a huge system
Who knows how long it ran

As we probed their secret
CONTACT!! Clatter tat tat…BOOM!! RPGs!!
Bloody hell Charlie he’s still here
And he’s trying to bring us to our knees

But as a Company we fought him off
And the support fire power helped in our sway
By early afternoon we occupied that bunker system
And saw why he wanted to stay

Well we managed to get our full resupply
And of coarse those rations we longed for
My Saccharin vile was already empty
All up must have used a few score or more

And when ever I get that bitter sweet taste
I remember the action we went through
How Charlie kept us from our resupply
And the Saccharin I had to chew

*Artificial sweetener


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

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