Derek Evens


The leading scout raised his arm
in the village of Long Phouc,
he’d found another tunnel
But who’s going in to look.

The digger passed the word back
it went far behind,
To let his platoon commander know
of his recent find.

Then along came this soldier
With mud from head to toe.
Where’s the tunnel entrance
That’s all he wished to know.

When the digger showed him
He quickly looked around.
And before anyone could stop him
He’d gone underground.

Now he’s crawling
On his gut I bet.
Looking for the booby traps
That old Charlie’s set.

Then he felt the wire
Stretched taught and thin.
But he deloused that booby
With a safety pin.

Then he felt the weapons
leaning against the wall.
That’s when he knew he’d found
A really great big haul.

When he finally surfaced
Wearing a great big grin,
He proudly showed the diggers
What he’d found within.

Now he’d like to sit down
And roll himself a smoke.
But he’s been called forward
By another bloke.

So if you see that badge
That’s like a bursting shell.
Just remember that soldier
He’s crawled half-way through hell.

And if you’re in a bar mate
You by that bloke a beer.
because sir you’re drinking
With an Aussie Engineer!

Author’s Note: This poem is dedicated to all Engineers who served in the Vietnam War, especially those members of 1st Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers, otherwise known as ‘The Tunnel Rats.’ They were a special breed of soldier who descended into a black, booby trapped underground, armed only with a torch and a pistol.