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The Greatest March Of All

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by Unknown

You may have seen the title,
About some other March so grand,
But they were just a picnic,
To the one across Thailand.

It started down at Changi,
In rice truck by rail,
For six days through Malaya,
Then at Bampong starts the tale.

The first three nights were not so bad,
Along a Main Road grand,
Then into swamp and jungle
Went our intrepid band.

There were three thousand A.I.F.,
Three thousand British too,
The good old British-Lion
And old Aussie Kangaroo.

In parties of six hundred,
We set out each night,
To march about eighteen mile,
The prospect wasn't bright.

Feet soon were sore and blistered,
Treatment hard to get,
But the Order, "Ever Onward,
Ever onward yet."

The food we had was not so good,
And what there was not nice,
Two meals of dried radish
With each a bowl of rice.

We left the swamp behind us,
Then into jungles of Bamboo,
Poisonous snakes and scorpions
And many tigers too.

Then we hit the mountains
The road was pretty steep,
The climbing, it was bloody hard,
Enough to make you weep.

But on and on we battled,
Getting thin and gaunt.
When we get relieved from here,
This trek our dreams will haunt.

Men dropped by the roadside,
Exhausted, tired and sick,
Unable to go another step,
They'd played their final trick.

Hospitals were crowded
With weary footsore men,
Dysentery took a heavy toll
And cholera broke out then.

Now the March is over,
After two hundred weary miles.
Men work on roads and railways,
Or maybe driving piles.

So, when this war is over,
And you hear talk of Marches grand,
Just dip your lids to the legion,
Who marched across Thailand.

Think of the men, who paid the price,
And rest in that far off land,
Who had gone through blood and battle,
But died at disease's hand.

For the Reaper swung a heavy scythe
Upon that Thailand trail,
With grisly bones he danced a jig,
Told many a ghastly tale.

So we, who were upon it,
And saw the toll he took,
Will sneer when we read of glory
In some "Great War" History Book.

We stood and saw Pals buried,
Struck down in all their prime,
Then staggered on another lap
In that God-forsaken clime.

Although not "Killed in Action",
They were heroes all,
At "Reveille" and "Retreat"
Their memories we'll recall.

Though you preach to us of glory,
And tell us of deeds so grand,
Excuse us if we scorn you,
For we marched across Thailand.

So when the price you tally,
For "God's Sake" see it's high,
For the death of our marching comrades
Was a horrible one to die.

And so when the talk of Marches,
And some hard trek you recall,
Just remember the unsung heroes
Of the GREATEST MARCH OF ALL.

(Source: Norm King - Makan No. 249, July/August, 1979)

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Last updated 16/12/2013