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Me Bloody Mates
by Philip "Buzz" Solomon LT RANR
28 October 2000
A retired Aussie Submariner
HMAS Orion, HMAS Onslow, HMAS Otway, HMAS Oxley

I have served aboard a sub or two in my years at sea,
They have stayed on in my memory, each one dear to me.
I saw their sleek black bodies and tasted that diesel smell,
I felt the deck beneath me as it rose, and as it fell.

The heat, the noise, the fumes, the taste, the closeness of her sides,
The stillness of her breathing as beneath the waves she hides.
Yes, those boats and me were bonded as we shared our common fates,
But they would have been only shapes of steel without me bloody mates.

Me mates were the backbone of that fighting ship of steel
They were the might in each frame, the firmness in its keel.
Me mates were the power that surged throughout its breadth and length,
They were the welds that held it sure, against the oceanís fearful strength.

Without me mates I could not have endured the endless days at sea,
The hours on watch, the fitful sleeps, the longing to be free.
They shared the dangers with me and joked when things got strained,
With no thought of what I owed them, or what they could have gained.

I can still see their smiling faces when I close my eyes at night,
They are waiting quietly in the darkness to shine that guiding light.
Some of them are still of this world, but so many have gone ahead,
To prepare the boat for that last patrol where all our names are read.

I know one day Iíll see them all again alongside that golden pier,
When I will step across the brow to join them, amidst a mighty cheer.
They will laugh and joke as usual, asking why Iím bloody late,
Then tell me which watch Iíve got, and ... welcome back old mate.