top of page

#LestWeForget: The 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month: Waltzing Matilda

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Take a minute at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month to remember our fallen.

Thank you to you all, each and every one.

There are many memories, many tributes, and songs, but this one for me is probably the most poignant as I listen to the lyrics and imagine the sacrifice that was made by these brave heroes. Please share and remember all our fallen heroes, no matter what color, race, religion, or beliefs. Without them, we would not be here as we are today.

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

The Pogues

"When I was a young man I carried my pack And I lived the free life of a rover From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback I waltzed my matilda all over Then in nineteen fifteen my country said son It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun And they sent me away to the war.

And the band played Waltzing Matilda As we sailed away from the quay And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers We sailed off to Gallipoli.

How well I remember that terrible day When the blood stained the sand and the water And how in that hell that they called suvla bay We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shells And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

And a band played waltzing Matilda As we stopped to bury our slain And we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs Then it started all over again.

Now those who were living did their best to survive In that mad world of blood, death and fire And for seven long weeks I kept myself alive While the corpses around me piled higher Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit And when I awoke in my hospital bed And saw what it had done, Christ I wished I was dead Never knew there were worse things than dying.

And no more I'll go waltzing Matilda To the green bushes so far and near For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs No more waltzing Matilda for me.

So they collected the cripples, the wounded and maimed And they shipped us back home to Australia The legless, the armless, the blind and insane Those proud wounded heroes of suvla And as our ship pulled into circular quay I looked at the place where me legs used to be And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me

To grieve and to mourn and to pity.

And a band played Waltzing Matilda As they carried us down the gangway But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared And they turned all their faces away.

And now every April I sit on my porch And I watch the parade pass before me I see my old comrades, how proudly they march Reliving their dreams of past glory I see the old men, all twisted and torn The forgotten heroes of a forgotten war And the young people ask me, "what are they Marching for?" And I ask myself the same question.

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda And the old men still answer to the call But year after year their numbers get fewer Some day no one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda Who'll go a-Waltzing Matilda with me?"



Willy Mitchell is an indie author, writer, and storyteller. His first title was Operation ARGUS, and then the sequel Bikini BRAVO where a group of former Special Air Service operatives enter the dark and murky world of maskirovka and discover the lengths that some people will go for power and greed. Cold COURAGE tells the epic tale of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition and all that was happening in those extraordinary times. Book four, Northern ECHO tells the story of two boys growing up during the punk rock revolution in the north of England, and how a dark secret keeps them apart until the end. Mitchell's latest installment, is Gipsy MOTH about his Aunt Nikki, her friend, and fellow Aviatrix, Amy Johnson, and Amelia Earhart on the other side of the pond during the golden age of aviation.

Up next? SS Indigo is the story of an eclectic mix of guests mysteriously invited to a cruise on a luxury steamship around the Caribbean. The only thing they have in common is their lust for power, advancement, and wealth.

All of Mitchell's books so far are novels, works of fiction, blended with real events. For further information or how to buy his books, visit his author website:

125 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page