(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling and the modern Army)
They flew me ‘ome from Baghdad with a bullet in me chest.
Cos they’ve closed the army ‘ospitals, I’m in the NHS.
The nurse she ain’t no Britisher, so she ain’t too impressed.
It’s like I’m some street corner thug who’s come off second best.
Yes, it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “You’re not welcome ‘ere”.
But when Saddam was collar'd, they was quick enough to cheer.
They’re proud when Tommy Atkins ‘olds the thin red line out there,
But now he’s wounded back at ‘ome, ‘e has to wait for care.
Some stranger in the next bed sez, “Don’t you feel no shame?
You kill my Muslim brothers!”; so it’s me not ‘im to blame!
An’ then the cleaner ups an’ sez, “Who are you fightin’ for?
It ain’t for Queen and country ‘cos it’s Bush’s bloody war!”
It’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’“Tommy what’s that smell?”
But it’s “God go with you, Tommy,” when they fly us out to ‘ell.
O then we’re just like ‘eroes from the army’s glorious past.
Yes, it’s “God go with you, Tommy”, when the trip might be your last.
They pays us skivvy’s wages, never mind we’re sitting ducks,
When clerks what’s pushing pens at ‘ome don’t know their flippin’ luck.
”Ah, yes,” sez they, “but think of all the travel to be ‘ad.”
Pull the other one! Does Cooks do holidays in Baghdad?
It’s Tommy this, ‘an Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, know your place,”
But it’s, “Tommy take the front seat,” when there’s terrorists to chase,
An’ the town is full of maniacs who’d like you dead toot sweet.
Yes it’s “Thank you Mister Atkins,” when they find you in the street.
There’s s’posed to be a covynant to treat us fair an’ square,
But I ‘ad to buy me army boots, an’ me combats is threadbare.
An’ ’alf the bloody ‘elicopters can’t get in the air,
An’ me pistol jammed when snipers fired. That’s why they brought me ‘ere.
Yes, it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, “We ‘ave to watch the pence”;
Though bold as brass the P.M. sez, “We spare them no expense.”
But I’ll tell you when they do us proud an’ pull out all the stops,
It’s when Tommy lands at Lyneham in a bloomin’ wooden box!
- by Patrick Campbell