I was only nineteen

Discussion in 'Vietnam' started by spidge, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    I placed this in another forum, no not ******* and although it was written for the Vietnam war it is the poetry and heart and warmth and sadness that war instills.

    The audio is on the link.

    Without some of the modern day weapons and names, it could be WW1 or 2 and sends the shivers up the spine.

    This is a song written for Australian troops in Vietnam.

    Find it here: http://www.iwvpa.net/schumanj/index.php

    The words are on the link.

    Very good sound still sends chills up the spine! Worth a listen!

    I WAS ONLY NINETEEN
    This song was written in the 70's, by a bloke called John Schuman and performed by him in a band called "Redgum". It became a national hit especially among Veterans almost immediately. It is still performed today whenever Vietnam Vets get together for a concert. Royalties from sales were donated to the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia.
    Just a few things that may help you understand the lyrics better.
    Puckapunyal was a recruit training center and Cunungra is a Jungle Warfare training center in Queensland (Hardest training regime in the world so it is said during WW2). Shoalwater was a place that the Army used for Military excercises. The SLR was the personal weapon mostly used in Vietnam. Vung Tau & Nui Dat were Aussie bases in Vietnam. V.B. is Victorian Bitter a very popular Aussie beer. Anzac is the acronym for the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps
     
  2. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    Just a general question to the Vietnam vets in the group. What do you remember of the USO tours that visited your area? In Long Binh, we would have a tour come through every other month, showcasing at the amphitheatre. I was also treated to some of the shows while out in the field. The most memorable part of these shows was the general state of dress (or undress, as the case may be) of the female performers. (The closer you were to the front lines, the skimpier the costumes.) Generally, the performances were mediocre at best; but, when you had a headliner like Bob Hope, you had to be at your best to secure a good seat.
     
  3. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Spidge,
    Great song.
    It reminds me of a record by (I think) Paul Hardcastle just called '19', one of my favoutites in my younger years. I think I still have an 18" vinyl copy of it somewhere.
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Spidge,
    Great song.
    It reminds me of a record by (I think) Paul Hardcastle just called '19', one of my favoutites in my younger years. I think I still have an 18" vinyl copy of it somewhere.

    My bean came out of the barrel however the Medico's knocked me back. I had Encephalilitis when I was 10 and Eczema which was a bad combination for the tropics.

    "No use sending you to Vietnam son, you would spend most of your time in hospital"

    My dad who was critically wounded taking Tobruk in 1941 said it was the best news he had since I was born. None of his four sons had to go to war. (I was the youngest)

    All I knew who went, returned unscathed however the song still brings a tear to their eye.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Geoff

    Re "I was only 19"

    The very thread title made me sit up and take notice.

    In WW2 in 1942 the age of 19 was seminal because that was the age at which one was eligible for call-up.

    In my own case I was 19 in the August, was called up in October and by April of '43 was on my way to North Africa.

    A bloody good title mate !

    Ron
     
  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Ron-the title made me sit up and notice too!
    My dad was called up at 19. When he was sent to North Africa in November 1942 he would have had his 20th birthday there on 24th November.
    A bit of a wake-up call.

    Lesley
     
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Lesley

    In those frenetic days we never knew where (or if) our next birthday would be celebrated :(

    For example;

    August 16 1942 19th Birthday Houghton Regis, England.
    1943 20th Bronte, Sicily
    1944 21st Cairo, Egypt
    1945 22nd Trieben, Austria
    1946 23rd Trieste, Italy

    Ron
     
  8. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

    There was a Rap version done a few years ago and the original promo is on YouTube. Should be on the last song use listen to thread somewhere.

    It is quite easy to play on guitar.

    It use to be quite to hard to get legit digital version don't know if it is know I know I tunes only use to have a live version and on spotify it comes and goes.

    Redgum very interesting band.
     
  9. Tanja van Zon-Anderson

    Tanja van Zon-Anderson Senior Member

    The title is realy a wake-up-call. Since Ia m looking for information about my uncle, I am struggeling with the age that many soldiers had during WW1, WW2 and Vietnam. Looking at photo's and video's on the internet. The modern television shows us everyday how young many soldiers are today.

    I am not against army's and I think we still need them. And I know that young people are fitter to fight and can learn their skills easier than older people who already have lived their lives. But my heart bleeds when I see childsoldiers (like in the Africa-tribal-army) sometime 12 years old. Nobody can make enought songs and music for these kids.

    When you are 19 years old ,skills and liveexperience are just coming to you. How do these people handle their knowlegde after the war (any war)?

    Greetings

    Tanja
     
  10. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Lesley

    In those frenetic days we never knew where (or if) our next birthday would be celebrated :(

    For example;

    August 16 1942 19th Birthday Houghton Regis, England.
    1943 20th Bronte, Sicily
    1944 21st Cairo, Egypt
    1945 22nd Trieben, Austria
    1946 23rd Trieste, Italy

    Ron

    Ron-Here is what my dad was doing on his birthday, 24 November (if you are interested!)

    56 Recce, C Sqn:-

    1942 19th birthday Testour. Force arrive at Testour (78 Div) C Sqn, 56 Recce already in position and 2 German prisoners taken by C Sqn. Lt Ennis reported killed in carrier accident. (quite a wake-up call).

    1943 20th Vasto, Italy. 150 men on roadmaking in RE Dump, Vasto. By 30th November moved off and crossed River Sangro.

    1944 21st Tombarella, Italy. Increased enemy shelling throughout day-no casualties. One Sjt from A Sqn, dressed as a farm labourer (!) patrolled forward and observed enemy at house and surrounding area. Returned with satisfactory information.

    1945 22nd Wolfsberg-Regt attached to North Irish Horse. On 24th November C Sqn still in Vienna performing occupation duties under NIH whilst in process of disbanding. (at last maybe he celebrated this birthday )

    Lesley

    ps war diaries are great but can be a bit upsetting to read at times.
     
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Well done Lesley !

    Anyone in 78 Div certainly got their money's worth of travel at the governments expense :)

    Ron
     
  12. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Thank you Ron

    Lesley
     
  13. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    Just a general question to the Vietnam vets in the group. What do you remember of the USO tours that visited your area? In Long Binh, we would have a tour come through every other month, showcasing at the amphitheatre. I was also treated to some of the shows while out in the field. The most memorable part of these shows was the general state of dress (or undress, as the case may be) of the female performers. (The closer you were to the front lines, the skimpier the costumes.) Generally, the performances were mediocre at best; but, when you had a headliner like Bob Hope, you had to be at your best to secure a good seat.

    I had intended doing a thread along these lines. We usually had Filipino bands come to us. We would make great fun of them and their attempts to sing American pop songs. I remember picking up the New Christie Minstrels in Long Binh and taking them to Phu Loi but don't recall their show.



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  14. Big_Al

    Big_Al Junior Member

    When I turned 19 I joined the Army. I had my 20th birthday at Fort Carson, Colorado, and spent my 21st outside in the rain at Da Nang, Vietnam waiting for a flight further north, up to the DMZ.
    The USO shows that made it up to our base camp were Korean. Played good rock-n-roll, but the lyrics were something else. They tried, and we appreciated that we were not forgotten.
     
  15. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Just a few years ago I was at Oosterbeek Cemetery for the interment of a Glider Pilot friends ashes, there were three interments that day and the Padre spoke a little about each, one of the lads he spoke about made it into the Parachute regiment just before Arnhem, he was taken prisoner, and heard in the camp they were to be marched out and away the next day , he and a mate decided to hide in the roof, and leg it when they could, they did and made their way back to British lines, but for this lad, the Padre said, the greatest thing of all for him was to get home and spend his twentieth birthday with his mum.
    We / my generation have been blessed in avoiding these experiences,and will never forget the sacrifices made by these sort of people for our freedom, I am quite uncertain how I would have coped at that age. You know who you are, Thank You.
    lofty
     
    Deacs likes this.
  16. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    My Uncle was called up to the Royal Navy in 1942 at the age of 19.
    He spent his service largely training as a Motor Mechanic and came home for his 21st Birthday proudly wearing his new Petty Officers uniform.
    A few months lated he died when his LCT foundered in a storm along with several others.

    RIP Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Martin Long :poppy:
     

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  17. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

    [YOUTUBE]Urtiyp-G6jY[/YOUTUBE]

    I cried the first time I herd this. Wish UK bands could expressed this kind of stuff.

    Only thing i guess we have is this [YOUTUBE]b9ZIo4p0V7A[/YOUTUBE] Which most guys will not like on this forum I guess.
     
  18. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I joined the RAAF just after my 18th birthday in the early 80s, around the same time this song came out.

    One of my more vivid (if somewhat blurry) recollections of this song was being in a group that had a go at singing it in what is now known as Karaoke style at a talent night at the junior sailors club at the navy base in Canberra (at the time HMAS Harman offered the best social outlet for young servicemen in the ACT).

    Our singing would be best described as atrocious and we were utterly put to shame by the next participant.

    A young sailor stood up on the stage and sang the song “And the band played Waltzing Matilda” without any backing. Absolutely brilliant performance.

    One of the few songs then and now that brings a tear to my eye - while “I was only 19” is poignant, “And the band played Waltzing Matilda” is just plain sad.

    I don’t know how to link to it but I will see if I can find the lyrics. It is set in WW1 and it's aftermath.

    ************************************************************

    By the time I went on active service I had completed the better part of 25 years service. For a number of reasons I found myself working a lot further forward than I was expecting to go. There are not many deployed situations that call for a bespectacled, grumpy, middle-aged RAAF SNCO.

    Many of the blokes that actually went out (and are still going out) on the operational missions are “only 19” and I don’t envy them one bit.

    The amount of training they go through, the hardships they face, and the stress & responsibility they shoulder is more than I could hope to understand (or manage).
     
  19. Sejny

    Sejny Left WW2Talk

    So, if you were drafted, didn't want to serve, You'd go to prison?
     
  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Sejny

    So, if you were drafted, didn't want to serve, You'd go to prison?

    In October 1942, when I was "drafted" at the age of 19, although we referred to it as "being called up", the answer might have been yes.

    If you could prove to a tribunal that you were a genuine conscientious objector you would probably have been allowed to join a non-combative service such as the Ambulance or Fire Service or even as a stretcher bearer in one of the military services.

    Ron
     

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