Into Battle, a poem written by an anonymous member of 81 Field Regiment
during the sea voyage to Normandy as found in WO171/1356:
1. It was early in the summer –
And no summer could be glummer
Than the summer was in 1944 –
We received an invitation
To take part in the invasion
And join a party going off to the war.
Oh, the war!
Yes, the war!
IT was just the sort of exercise that we were waiting for,
You’d spent five years cleaning brasses
And sitting on our arses
So that soldier was getting quite a bore.
3. With our battledresses undone,
We got as far as London
Where the troops enjoy remarkable renown,
Then by military routing
Via Holloway and Toting
We landed up at last in Canning Town,
Oh the Town!
The lovely Town!
There we beer and tea and sandwiches and knees up Mother Brown,
You could dance with all the Cockneys
Either bowlegged or with knock knees
And buy anything you liked for half a crown.
5. Now, the man who runs the Navy
Said the Channel was too wavy
For the likes of you and me,
So he stuck us at the mouth end
Lying off the port of Southend,
TO admire a most delightful piece of sea,
Oh the sea!
The open sea!
Its an ideal place for exercising your anatomy.
While the balanced compo rations
Neutralise your sexual passions
With a tiny dose of bromide in the tea.
2. Before we met the Jerries,
Someone checked the neccessarries
And made us sign (.1954,
We paid for damaged roofing
Did a little waterproofing
Then we started to get organised for war,
Oh the war!
What a war!
You have never seen such chaos in the Quartermaster’s store
Last we gave our love and kisses
To somebody else’s missis
Then we rode away like knights in days of yore.
4. Next, they sent us off in busses
With a lot of cusses
Where one talks of “sterns and sterns”
And roughly six hours later,
They let us board a freighter
And took us cruising up and down the Thames,
Oh the Thames!
Old Father Thames!
It’s a river very popular with all CSMs
For we’d scarcely cast our anchors,
When McGregor started jankers –
Just another of his subtler stratagems.
6. A Red Indian in braces
Organised the daily races
With betting based upon a 5-frame punt,
All the chaps that own the money
Said the thing was very funny,
While the losers thought about the Second Front,
Oh, the front!
The second front!
The operation seems to be a fascinating stunt,
Now we’re going like a comet
With out satchels anti-vomit,
To catch up with the NAAFI in the hunt.