Song recalls footy played in war zone

Faced with some of the most atrocious conditions in the nation's wartime history, Australian soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War acted on instinct - and played footy.

Two WA musicians recently registered in Vietnam a song titled Forever We Will Run, honouring the Australian rules football competition which ran from 1966 to 1971 after being started by Pte John Heaney. He decided it was a better option than the detention being offered from a commanding officer for a misdemeanour he had committed.

The recording, written by David Morgan and sung by Steve Spouse, will be launched in Ho Chi Min City on Tuesday, four days before the wartime football games will be commemorated with the now- annual Anzac Friendship Match at the Vung Tau greyhound track.

This year's match, at the same ground where the original games were played, will be between the Vietnam Swans and the Malaysian Tigers and players will wear two black armbands to remember the dead from both countries.

Mr Morgan said he "fell in love" with Vietnam when working there for three years while building an electrical marine business. He has since written several songs, including Forever We Will Run, which he hopes the AFL will adopt during next year's 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.

"What amazed me, every time you looked at the photos of the Vietnam games, was how young they were," Mr Morgan said. "I wanted to get a theme about longevity and the healing between the Vietnamese and the Australians. The bonds are getting stronger now through these games and through the money they raise for charities and we want it to go on for ever."

Mr Spouse said he became enamoured with the culture and people in Vietnam during a trip there last year and was also taken by the story of wartime football.

"Just the history of the footy there and how in the middle of this raging war, they decided to have a footy match," he said. "It's just such an Aussie thing to do."

Funds raised by the annual friendship game go to the Vung Tau Orphanage, Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam.

The West Australian

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