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Plunging a Carrier.
I was looking at your web site of heavy military gear and your request for additional material. Perhaps the following will be of interest.
To set the scene, my father was a Sergeant in the Australian Army in WW2 and at one stage (about 1942) was training with the 54th Battalion on Bren Gun Carriers. After each exercise the Carriers had to be washed down, inside and out, not a great job on a cold day. So, after one muddy exercise, the driver and crew got the bright idea of removing the armour plating, driving the thing into a creek and then they could wash it out. Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan and the Carrier sank!
This was a cause of great mirth for those NOT in the carrier and gave one in the group the bright idea of writing a poem about it all. Here it is, with apologies to Banjo Patterson’s “Man from Snowy River”, along with a photo of the Carrier being driven into the creek.
I believe the author was S.A. Robinson and the others were "Mo" Chase and Ralph “Job” Evers, H.Q. Company, 54 Battalion. It looks like my father Sgt. Malcolm MacKinnon standing up in the front of the carrier. The driver is to his right and hard to spot because of the shadow. He is about to cop a face full of water. As you can see it is obvious that the water in the creek is deeper than they had anticipated! The whitish lines across the photo are creases in the 60 year old print.
There was movement at the carriers, for the word had passed around,
That the carrier driven by Mo had got away,
It had gone to join the oysters, it was worth two thousand pound,
and quite a crowd had gathered to the spray.
And the old Job was with him, he was there to lend a hand,
And between them, well they sure did make it hot
For things just didn't go the way those blokes had planned,
And believe me they sure were in a spot.
For they had driven out on the causeway as you know they used to do
And they settled down to one hour's solid grind.
Sloshing water at the carrier till their hands were nearly blue
When suddenly a thought flashed through Mo's mind,
So he yells out to the old Job, wait a minute Dole,
Let's drive the old can halfway in the crick,
We can pull all the plates off to let the water out the hole,
And we'll do the job twice as easy and twice as quick.
So I don't know who was driving, anyhow it didn't take long
For them fellows sure disturbed that river bed,
For after all Mo's calculations, something seemed to have gone wrong,
For she was floating like a blooming lump of lead,
When she started shipping water, they thought it time to go,
So they both broke the surface and gazed around
And I'd give a lot for a photo to record the face on Mo,
When he told me he thought that they were on solid ground.
But them fellows were doing some thinking as they watched that carrier sinking,
With giggles from the crowd to make 'em curse
So they hailed a passing driver, "fetch some tow-ropes and a diver!
And hurry for the bugger's getting worse!"
And that was how we found them, there's no need to tell you more
But for a while I'll admit it was touch and go,
And now we're calling for volunteers for the "Army Submarine Corps",
With head sharang - the one and only Mo.
Taking the plunge!
My thanks to Colin, Australia.
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