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“Who? V.C. Williams? – Yes, I knew the bloke.”
The old man lit his pipe – savoured the smoke.
He paused a moment, seemed quite deep in thought,
And then he spoke: “It was the French we fought –
The Vichy French – in Syria, a land
Much like our own, out west – dust, rock, and sand.
So V.C. Williams used to say, you know.
He’d say: “This bloody country wouldn’t grow
Much more than saltbush.” – like from where he came.
Yes, V.C. Williams thought it much the same.
In ’41 it was – eighth of July.
It seems like yesterday – how the years fly.
He was beside me in that final fight.
We charged with bayonets fixed and took the height.
He’d joined, he said, to get a taste of war.
We buried him on hill ten fifty four.”

{In memory of Pte. V.C. Williams, C Company 2/25th Battalion 7th Division A.I.F. – Killed in Action, Hill 1054 Syria 8th July 1941 and of Pte. A. N. O’Brien of the same company, Wounded in Action the same day, and in memory of the 26 other members of the unit killed or wounded during the taking of Hill 1054. This was the last action against the Vichy French in Syria – they surrendered 3 days later. The Australians had suffered 1,500 killed and wounded, the French over 6,000}

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