February 8, 1942 "To a Springbok from a Roo" - written at Harim on Syrian-Turkish border




 Bob Cowley is my section mate; he lately had a poem sent him by his cousin in Durban , named “To a ‘Roo’ from a Springbok”. He asked me to make up a few verses in reply to her, she is famous as a verse writer and she is known to old and new diggers as “The Angel of Durban” – Ethel Campbell.

     So:-            TO A SPRINGBOK FROM A ROO.  Harem Road Block , Syria in the snow 8.2.42.

Now, from Syria to Durban ,

   I send these lines to you,

From the land of veil and turban,

   To a springbok from a roo.


So I pass the paw of greeting

   Far across the ocean blue,

Quite a novel way of meeting

   ‘Tween a springbok and a roo.


I have read your stirring verses,

   That you mailed to Cousin Bob,

A lad who drinks and curses,

   A dinkum Aussie ‘Job’.


I have met your springbok “Springers”,

   Springing on towards Tobruk,

The occasion found some singers,

   As the glasses clinked good luck


Since then they’ve sprung surprises.

   On the Itie and the Hun,

The springboks took some prizes,

   With the bayonet and the gun.


I once met some natty “Wassies”,

   Selling poppies Cairo way,  

They pinned one on the Aussies,

   On that fair November day.


I have read your invitation

   To the “Woppers of the Wops”,

But whacko the conversation

   When the ‘kangas’ drink your hops.


But now the Japs are knocking

   On the gates of Aussie land,

Those gates will take some rocking,

   For the Japs don’t understand –


The class of men he’s fighting,

   The “Diggers”, young and old;

Hard drinking, swearing, skiting,

   With fairest land to hold.


And the laundry-man's ambition

   To storm our sunny shores,

Will end in their admission –

   “The ‘Roos can use their paws”

Ethel Campbell – what a story

For your Springbok pen to write

Anzacs fight for home and glory;

Just one final line – Good-night.