Drowning in the Sunshine

Story
Posted on 20 April 2022

This war memorial includes information about the Fall of Rabaul, the Tol Plantation Massacre and the Sinking of the Montevideo Maru in 1942. Like many of the theatres of war where Australian servicemen and women (and civilians) were taken prisoner, the full extent of the horrors they suffered was not known until after the end of the war. The following poem, Drowning in the Sunshine, I hope, gives one an insight into what happened to the Australian POWs in the New Guinea islands during the Second World War, many years ago. It also reflects on the price that was paid for the freedom we have today. Lest We Forget. 

 

Drowning in the Sunshine

 

On this sunny autumn day   We are many miles away   Lost in time   Drowning in the sunshine.

It's another world   For me and you   The Second World War  The dark days of 1942.

Our men waited in Australia's Garden of Eden   In the land of plantations they did dwell   Yet things would soon change   And they would be in a living hell.

For in a blink of an eye   They were overwhelmed   And most became prisoners  To an unforgiving foe.

And so   Most were shipped out   Slaves to the core   Slaves to work in mines   Until the end of the war. 

Alas  The ship with the South American name   Never made it to the distant shore   And our brave men went   Down to the bottom of the sea  The casualties of war.

Bodies lie in the plantations   Bodies lie at the bottom of the sea   Countless lives were shattered   But a nation will always remember them   For they fought for what really mattered.

On this sunny autumn day   We are many miles away   Lost in time   Drowning in the sunshine. 

 

Patrick Bourke