215637 John Henry Kalma – 1RAR – KIA 19th December 1968

53 Years ago tomorrow, I lost a very good mate and his family lost a son & brother. John was a bit of a rogue and when I think of some of the things we got up to, I smile every time. John had a red Triumph Bonneville that he treasured and he was forever in trouble riding it into our hut and keeping it at the end of his bed. Together we created so many great memories, his life was short, but I hope I have lived my life in his memory.



Bill Charlton wrote this poem about John.



John was only 17 when he enlisted in ’64.

Born in The Hague he arrived here when he was 4.

The 6 foot 4 inch soldier did two tours of Viet Nam.

Nothing ever seemed to faze this young man.


His first tour with 1RAR was 1965-66.

On the second tour in ’68 promotion was in the mix.

He was appointed Lance Corporal in the line.

But on 19th December he was killed by a mine.


The young NCOs luck had finally run out.

He was headed for a fine career of that there is no doubt.

But tomorrow is not promised and to death we all are prone.

There were only 6 more weeks to go before he headed home.

Bill Charlton c 2019

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