The bugle is sounded; it’s playing The Last Post.
The diggers spring to attention when they hear that mournful note.
They have two minutes silence.
You don’t hear a sound.
That’s in respect for the soldier in the ground.
The diggers wear a flower, the poppy is red
They throw it in the grave when a soldier he is dead.
Joe McSweeny – Soldier
What a mug I have been
fighting in the war for the Queen
trying to dodge the enemy lead
jumping over the stinking dead.
Someone said you got good pay;
the mighty sum of four bob a day.
You chase the enemy day and night
strike me lucky, they give you a fright.
There are bursting shells of every type,
this goes on all the night.
I feel so crook and half fed,
I’d give a quid for a night in bed.
My legs are aching, my feet are sore
I have a toothache and a very sore jaw.
The Sergeant said, “In you go.”
The trenches is cold and covered in snow.
You shake and shiver to early morn
Out you hop, over the top, at the break of dawn.
Now the big guns boom and bark
they send big shells out in the dark.
Now the Diggers brave and true,
they hop over the top, same as you.
They fight the enemy, they were brave,
the hungry Digger without a shave.
Now they laugh and give a cheer
we would give a quid for an Aussie beer.
The soldier’s life it’s like being in hell
They take him out and give him a spell
They march him round and he is feeling fine
Seven days later, he is back in the line.
The Aussie boys are fighting machines,
They proved that by beating the enemy at the city of Messines,
In the trenches in Belgium and on the fields to the south
They Howitzer the enemy and bayoneted them out.
Now the war is over you can hear people say
‘Thanks to the Diggers, we will keep it that way’.
The bloke that wrote this was a backwoods kid
Everybody laughed at whatever he did.
Now he is old, his hair is grey
and if he was writing for money he would starve the next day.
Now you have heard my prattle and chatter,
No wonder I am as mad as a hatter.
The bloke who wrote this was my great-grandfather. A quiet and gentle man when I knew him. He wrote a few ‘poems’ about his time in the war and while there are only several pages of notes and few words the essence, between the larrikin humour and the now political incorrectness, reveals a horror I hope never to face.
Lest we forget.