Daryl Bristowe - A snake encounter

Running time
2 min 19 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


When I came back we had to pay for the airplane fare. We marched through Adelaide and we had been told things weren't good for the soldiers when they came back. You're not to be out in uniform because there was a lot of ill feeling. Little things, like people used to say, "You're a baby killer." Well, I never saw a baby. I saw a monkey if that counts, but I never saw a baby. Saw lots of snakes, humorous experiences with snakes. There's one. Can I tell you about one? It doesn't make us look good. Right. It doesn't make me look good.

Over night-time, we used to, you know like the wagon wheels in the old westerns, the three mortars always had to be aligned for a fire mission. You know, the bearings. And all around us were these eight armoured personnel carriers pointing out, with the communications one in the centre. So when we have to cook on our little hexamine stove, which is little stove and a little bit of paraffin sort of tablet. And I'm sitting there and out of the corner of me eye, it was a moonlight night, and there was something beside me that was moving and the moon was reflecting off it.

So I was all right, but it was my feet that were the problem. I have never seen so many cowardly actions from my feet. They took off the first foot hit the track. The second foot was on top of the vehicle and I followed it, screaming, "Snake, snake, snake." And every person that was on the ground was on the trucks and torches everywhere. And it was a snake, because they had a snake in Vietnam, it was green. I think green and yellow. Tiny little thing. Krait, or some name like that. They say, if it bites you, you normally take one step or two steps and then you die, it's so venomous. I never gave it the benefit of the doubt. It was a snake. So I took off, but I was a bit concerned about my legs. I'm not blaming me. I was all right, it was the feet that took off. They were the cowardly ones.

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