W3 Company  - Oroua Downs pupils poetry


2009 senior pupils Oroua Downs School [provided by school]

Oroua Downs School is on the Foxton Straight between Himatangi and Sanson near Palmerston North.  It has primary  students to Year 8 with a school roll of around 100.  In May 2009 teacher Tanya Zander was studying 'heroes' with the school senior class [Years 7-8, between 11 and 13 years of age] and invited Brigadier Evan Torrance to speak about his army career and in preparation for the visit he invited the teachers to look at this website.  The teachers drew the children's attention to the website and most of the questions asked were motivated by their reading of the W3 stories.  [Evan was chairperson of the Oroua Downs school board of trustees from 1992 until 1998.]

The students were impressed by Peter Anderson's poem 'The Soldier's Dream' [published as the 2009 ANZAC Day contribution] and were set a reading activity to write a poem about the experiences of W3 Company.  Evan was impressed with their thoughts and invited the pupils to have the W3 website publish their work.  Two poems were forwarded to Andy to comment on.

In proffering the student's poems Tanya commented "thank you for your kind offer of publishing the poems onto the website, that would be a real honour for the children and they are very excited.  Also they got a real buzz when they were told that you had forwarded their thoughts to Mr Anderson, they were so proud.  You have really made them feel very special and I thank you for that.  I have been really impressed on how the students have captured such graphic imagery, considering they are a generation that have grown up not experiencing war first hand."  

Andy's response back to Tanya summed it up well:

"I am most impressed with the two poems your pupils have composed as a reply to the poem I wrote as ďThe Soldier DreamĒ.  They certainly have grasped the essence of the poem.  I think they will make an excellent comment on the W3 Company web site.  I am looking forward to reading any other poems that the pupils write.  It is great to see today's pupils have an interest in the New Zealand Armed Forces contribution to the Viet Nam War.  For so long it has been a controversial subject, rarely mentioned in polite company, so very few New Zealanders know much if any of the day to day operational experiences of New Zealand troops involved.
But its even better to hear that your pupils have an interest in poetry."

link to news item       link to all Peter Anderson poems       link to family / whanau stories


INDEX:     I Wonder Why        The Day        Vietnam        War time memories
A Soldiers Pain     WAR     Lonely Night     Heroes Pain     The journey of War

By Hana and Sarah

I Wonder Why

As I lay in bed and wonder why
my dearest friends had to die
they fought the war
but are no more
than memories lying deep
for us to treasure and to keep
sounds of guns fill my head
they stay there, haunting me as I lay in bed
our families are so far away

I think of them mostly every day
my mindís stained with death
but I know it's for the best
I smell and see horrible things
I hear gunshots, my ear rings
but it is over and it's done
no need to hide, no need to run.

by JJ and Isaac

The Day

The day we got flown into the war
The day we might not see our family again
The day we loaded our rifles again
The day we saw our fellow soldiers
laying dead in the heavy monsoon rain
Risking our lives for our country
Knowing we might not
Not make it out of here alive


back to TOP

By Baylee, Summer and Kane


Flown to Vietnam for a war
We didnít really know about
As we got off the humidity is high
Hard to breath.                                                   

Setting up base camp
Ready to patrol the area
Cutting our way through the thick jungle
Getting dark fast because of the big tree canopy.

Resting for the night
Everyone tries to keep on the ground because
There are snakes and spiders.

Going back to base for the last BBQ
Remembering the people who died in W3 Company.

 back to TOP

By Orin, Khan and Temm

War time memories

Day after day
They marched on their way
Night after night
They slept in fright

But their sentry guns gave them some light
So they went to sleep that night
In the morning
The monsoon rain was pouring

They loaded their rifles
And their web and pack
And set off down the track
Wondering if they will make it back

All of a sudden
An enemy attack
They all survived except for three
What a tragedy

This poem is dedicated to them

By Taelah, Warwick and Nemesia


The devastating war came back to me so clear
Dead and wounded bodies lay all around everywhere
Insects mostly mozzies swarm all through the air
All the monsoon rain falls upon my head of hair
I hear the sound of gunshots all the way around
People call for help as they are being shot to the ground
The burning thirst goes down my throat
It seems to last forever
The leeches stick all down my legs
They stay close together
Now the war is over this is finally done
This dream has made it come back now
And now Iím back to step one.



back to TOP

By Kelsi, Jamie, Todd

A Soldiers Pain

4.00 am. I was with my old platoon
As the helicopters were flying over dropping
The rations and ammunition,
My heart filled with fear.
The death defying screams still ring in my ears,
As do the gun shots and the commander giving out commands
I felt as though my mind would blow,
Filled with thoughts of home.
I felt as though my life would end
With every shot I heard.
And with the angry mozzies screams and the squirmy little leeches,
Still as vivid as if real.

The backpack on my shoulders
A rifle in my hand.
Going trough dense forest in this huge, distant place.
The terrible thirst burning in my throat
And the blast of claymore mines
Still blowing in my head
Is enough to make any man flinch
When cars backfire

As I wake up I realize it was just a dream
And I am home now
Glad to be free.

By Anglea, Josh and Janet

Heroes Pain

The gun shots are devastating
Noises rustle through the trees.
The leeches the mossies the yucky awful things.
People screaming, shouting everywhere
looking for someone to care.
Emotions fears in the air
Puddles of red blood stains
And really bad pain!


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 By Kate, Nathan and Hayden

Lonely Night

One lonely night in the middle of Vietnam.
There was no chance to keep calm.
There were gunshots going everywhere.
The smell of blood was in the air.
Although you really didnít know what was there you had a feeling someone was there.
Then we heard someone yell there are enemies on the prowl.
Then we knew someone was there it gave us a bone chilling scare.
We turned around and ran  for our lives.
I donít want to go back in this life.             

 By Sophie, Hayden and Legrand

The journey of War

When they go to sleep the nightmare begins
Emotions and fears fill their heart while they dream within
Experience and memories fill their mind and will be with them forever
While the war can bring people together
They hear sounds and whispers that only soldiers understand

As we walked, ran, swam through the river
We felt leeches and bugs sliming and slither
Blood stains and puddles flowing on the ground
Dead bodies and screams can sometime be found
As the war is ending and to find the world has left
All we know is that they tried their best

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