William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

HE LED FROM THE FRONT
(General Sir Frank Hassett: 1918-2008)

Frank joined the Australian Army at the age of sixteen
He was one of puniest Cadets the RSM had ever seen
His favourite poem was by the Bard: Rudyard Kipling’s “If”
He went through life with the motto: “Don’t ever Quit”

In Australia, Korea has been an almost forgotten war
Hassett from the front bravely led the Infantry Corps
He defeated the dug in Chinese, at Mar Yang San
With bayonet, and rifle butt, and teeth hand to hand

The 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment – it won the day
Capturing key positions and keeping the enemy at bay
His tall erect figure calmly directed fire during the battle
Firing on the Chinese guns until they ceased their rattle

Awarded an immediate immediate DSO, General Cassels agreed
3 Battalion won 9 MCs, 2 DCMs, 9 MMs, 1 MBE and 15 battle MIDs
Those gallant Australian soldiers served under Lieutenant Colonel Big Frank
For 35 years these Korean War Vets, they were not really thanked

These courageous soldiers are now recognized for the battles that they won
Thanks to the efforts of General Sir Frank Hassett, Australia’s favourite son
With his fox terriers Ratty and Batty, he retired from the ranks
Rest in Peace Fighting Frank: you go with all of the free world’s thanks!

Author’s Note: Photo Caption: Jungle briefing… then Brigadier Frank Hassett, right, with Lieutenant Clive Bridges, left, and Major Mal Bishop

The below is based on the poem “If”, with apologies to Rudyard Kipling:

Frank – yours was the earth and everything that’s in it
You kept your head when all about you were losing theirs
You walked with kings but never lost the common touch
RIP fighting Frank – your recognition gave Australia’s KVA much!

Australia lost a great soldier earlier this month, a brilliant inspiring leader of men under fire during the Korean War – Sir Frank Hassett

  • DSO: Distinguished Service Order
  • MC: Military Cross
  • DCM: Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • MM: Military Medal
  • MBE: Member of the British Empire
  • MID: Mentioned in Dispatches