THE LAST “KIWI” ANZAC
Doug Dibley at age 101, Rotorua, NZ, "The Stretcher Bearer", enlisted as a seventeen year old office clerk serving as a stretcher bearer alongside Simpson and his donkey. Contracting spinal meningitis he was invalided back home.They buried Doug Dibley today,
a fine old gentleman who died in his sleep,
at Rotorua on a hot December afternoon.
No warrior’s death for him on Walker’s Ridge,
where the poppies fed on the blood and frozen dreams;
of good young men from Wellington.
A day’s leave and a seven year old son at my side,
we bore witness as six tall infantrymen in service dress,
raised him high from the gun carriage,
and quietly marched his flag draped casket to eternal rest;
among the trees and hills of his beloved Ngongotaha.
Volleys fired and mournful bugles call,
we shall not see his like again,
no more grow old as yet no more remain,
with living memory of that time,
when machine gun and bayonet did their awful work,
and Anzac boys closed with desperate Turk,
among the gullies and crumbling ridges;
of a foreign coast that was Gallipoli.
Remember this day my son,
remember this hour and this place,
for here and now they bury this nation’s last lament,
to a time of King and Empire.
And the poppies on the ridges grow,
and the scrub thorn in the valleys thrive,
and the memory of young mates who died;
we sod this day with Trooper Dibley.
©Copyright 1997 by Mike Subritzky