WINNIE’S BLUES By Cameron Simpkins, 1 RAR

In 1987 there was a song on the radio (4TO for those that remember) about Star Trek… “there’s Klingons on the starboard bow…” For those who recall the song, it’s important to the story.
Anyway, in May 1987 those members of the fighting first will recall the endless parade rehearsals for Coral. John Salter was CO, and he won the MC at Coral, so this was going to be a good parade… Endless shunning, at ease, salute to the left, salute to the right, slow and quick time… rehearsals twice a day… you get the picture?
Every now and then the RSM (I can’t recall his name) would order the battalion off the parade for a smoke. The boys were knackered – the Townsville heat, Bitumen parade ground and black boots. We were sweating like fat chicks in our polys…
We got the order to go back on. There was much grumbling by the blokes, a last drag on the durry, and away we went. Marching onto the parade ground to Waltzing Matilda…
We got through all the cars coming on and off, the Colours march on, and finally we had to do a centre dress off the Colours before the advance in review order…
I can’t recall who this was; I think it was a digger in A Coy…
There was a shout. It was the RSM… “Stand fast. You, there, that
man…” with pace stick fully outstretched. The RSM marched himself over to the offending digger, who had a packet of Winfield Blues in his poly shirt pocket.
“What are those?” demanded the RSM, pointing with the pace stick at the offending articles.
Our hero, a known battalion wag, and always quick on his feet (this is where you remember the bit about the Star Trek song) sprang to attention. He reached into his pocket (two, three) and pulled out the Winnies.
“Beam me up, Scotty. There’s life here, but not as we know it.”
The digger looked skyward… but somehow the tractor beam from The
Enterprise failed…
The RSM shook his head and walked off. “See me after…”
He got a couple of guard duties… and legend status that year for his efforts.

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