by Marriott Edgar (1941)
Sam Small had retired from the Army
In the old Duke of Wellington's time,
So when present unpleasantness started
He were what you might call past his prime.
He'd lived for some years in retirement
And knew nowt of the war, if you please,
'Til they blasted and bombed his allotment,
And shelled the best part of his peas.
'Twere as if bugles called Sam to duty
For his musket he started to search;
He found it at last in the hen house
Buff Orpingtons had it for t'perch.
Straight off to the 'Fusilier's' depot
He went to rejoin his old troop -
Where he found as they couldn't recruit him
Until all his age group was called up.
Now Sam wasn't getting no younger,
Past the three score and ten mark was he,
And they reckoned by t'time they reached his group
He'd be very near ten score and three.
So he took up the matter with Churchill
Who said, I don't know what to do,
Never was there a time when so many
Came asking so much of so few."
"I don't want no favours," Sam answered,
"Don't think as I'm one of that mob.
All I'm asking is give me the tools, lad,
And let me 'elp finish the job."
"I'll fit you in somewhere," said Winnie,
"Old Soldiers we must not discard."
Then seeing he'd got his own musket
He sent him to join the Home Guard.
They gave Sam a coat with no stripes on,
In spite of the service he'd seen
Which considering he'd been a King's Sergeant
Kind of rankled - you see what I mean ?
He said, "I come back to the Army
Expecting my country's thanks,
And the first thing I find when I get here
Is that I've been reduced to the ranks."
He found all the lads sympathetic,
They agreed that it were a disgrace,
Except one old chap in the corner
With a nutcracker kind of a face.
Said the old 'feller', "Who do you you think you are ?
The last to appear on the scene,
And you start off by wanting promotion;
Last come, last served - see what I mean ?"
Said Sam, "Wasn't I at Corunna,
And when Company Commander got shot,
Didn't I lead battalion to victory ?"
Said the old fella, "No, you did not."
"I didn't ? said Sam quite idignent,
"Why, in every fight Wellington fought
Wasn't I at his right hand to guard him ?"
Said old chap, "You were nowt of the sort."
"What do you know of Duke and his
Said Sam with a withering look.
Said the old man, "I ought to know something,
Between you and me, I'm the Duke."
And if you should look in any evening,
You'll find them both in the canteen,
Ex Commander-in-Chief and ex Sergeant
Both just Home Guards - you see what I mean ?"