Friday, 1 February 2013


Edward emailed the following and I thought today would be an appropriate time to publish it. After listening to David Cameron's weasel words yesterday I would not advise anyone to join the British military, because it's now blatantly obvious our politicians have no regard for any in our forces.  They're just political pawns in the greater scheme of things. It's always been thus.

A guest post from Edward Spalton

Pubs in Exeter have been refusing to serve Royal Marines.  The 'gay' Labour MP Ben Bradshaw declined to take an interest. 
I went into a public 'ouse to get a
pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We
serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they
laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to
myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that,
an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister
Atkins," when the band begins to
The band begins to play, my boys,
the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins,"
when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as
could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room,
but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or
round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin',
Lord! they'll shove me in the
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy
that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins"
when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my
boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins "
when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that
guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an'
they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when
they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than
paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy
that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes
" when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys,
the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, "
when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor
we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most
remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't
all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't
grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy
that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front,
sir," when there's trouble in the
There's trouble in the wind, my
boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front,
sir," when there's trouble in the

You talk o' better food for us, an'
schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you
treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room
slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the
soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy
that, an` Chuck him out, the brute!
But it's " Saviour of 'is country "
when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy
that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -
you bet that Tommy sees!


pa_broon74 said...

Point well made and fits in well with your previous post. I wonder when the last truly 'righteous' war was?

I assume Bradshaw's sexuality being highlighted in inverted commas is a witty bit of word play?

I mean, I'm sure no one thinks if Bradshaw was a red blooded seeker of women, his actions (or lack there-of) would be any different.


Joe Public said...

Thanks for reminding your readers of the truisms in that poem.

To answer Pa Broon - less than 30 years ago, 2nd April 1982.

Many squaddies weren't even born then.

JRB said...

It is worth reminding ourselves that Rudyard Kipling’s so very apt poem ‘Tommy’ was written in 1892 – and that that ill-used squaddie Tommy Aitkins first appeared as early as 1815

We have to ask ourselves, whilst war and conflict has changed, has our attitude to the military really changed that much in the last 200 years

Demetrius said...

As a retired squaddie (rather a long time ago) there was a time when Parliament had a lot of men who had real military experience. History suggests that when Parliament has had very few these were the periods when they were most careless of the troops and what was asked of them. If Whitehall is not careful it may not have a functioning military force left at all.

Clarinda said...

Apparently more serving US troops have commited suicide than have been killed in Afghanistan. I have no evidence as to whether this dreadful toll is within 'normal' expectations for this group of men and women - but I suspect not.
More than doubling the death toll and suffering of the US military seems to go unmentioned. I wonder what further carnage has been caused to our own troops in this respect?

Barney Thomson said...

A tribute to Tommy Atkins from a bit closer to home -

(Almost inevitably, William Topaz misunderstands and takes great exception to Kipling's use of the word "beggar". His sentiments are well placed, though. I wonder if Cameron and his chums would care much if any squaddies ended up as beggars as WTM understands it?)

Lines in Praise of Tommy Atkins
by - William Topaz McGonagall

Success to Tommy Atkins, he’s a very brave man,
And to deny it there’s few people can;
And to face his foreign foes he’s never afraid,
Therefore he’s not a beggar, as Rudyard Kipling has said.

No, he’s paid by our Government, and is worthy of his hire;
And from our shores in time of war he makes our foes retire,
He doesn’t need to beg; no, nothing so low;
No, he considers it more honourable to face a foreign foe.

No, he’s not a beggar, he’s a more useful man,
And, as Shakespeare has said, his life’s but a span;
And at the cannon’s mouth he seeks for reputation,
He doesn’t go from door to door seeking a donation.

Oh, think of Tommy Atkins when from home far away,
Lying on the battlefield, earth’s cold clay;
And a stone or his knapsack pillowing his head,
And his comrades lying near by him wounded and dead.

And while lying there, poor fellow, he thinks of his wife at home,
And his heart bleeds at the thought, and he does moan;
And down his cheek flows many a silent tear,
When he thinks of his friends and children dear.

Kind Christians, think of him when far, far away,
Fighting for his Queen and Country without dismay;
May God protect him wherever he goes,
And give him strength to conqner his foes.

To call a soldier a beggar is a very degrading name,
And in my opinion it’s a very great shame;
And the man that calls him a beggar is not the soldier’s friend,
And no sensible soldier should on him depend.

A soldier is a man that ought to be respected,
And by his country shouldn’t be neglected;
For he fights our foreign foes, and in danger of his life,
Leaving behind him his relatives and his dear wife.

Then hurrah for Tommy Atkins, he’s the people’s friend,
Because when foreign foes assail us he does us defend;
He is not a beggar, as Rudyard Kipling has said,
No, he doesn’t need to beg, he lives by his trade.

And in conclusion I will say,
Don’t forget his wife and children when he’s far away;
But try and help them all you can,
For remember Tommy Atkins is a very useful man.

subrosa said...

I'm not sure either pa_broon. Perhaps Edward will answer your question.

subrosa said...

No, I don't think it has JRB. Generally the public may little attention to the military and perhaps find their traditions outmoded these days.

If we didn't have the military we do, would the public notice? Few appear to be noticing the current decimation.

subrosa said...

Excellent points Demetrius.

subrosa said...

I have enquired Clarinda and, although the numbers weren't forthcoming, they are certainly fewer than in the US.

Many are discharge on mental health grounds though.

subrosa said...

Thank you Barney. I'm glad to see that one too.

Apogee said...

Once again the cause of the problem
is the people who vote the politicians into office without understanding the system and what they are actually voting for.With the party system change comes very hard.What do you think you accomplish
by voting.Think how effective your vote is for causing change.
If it had any real instant effect, do you think the system would be allowed? The idea of politics is that the politicians control power,and that requires the sheeple
get nowhere the control levers of power in any form,that's the right of only the politicians!

Ian said...

SR I found this modern version on a nationalist website somewhere and kept it
Tommy (with apologies to Kipling) - Written by Patrick Campbell RM

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 an' so she ain't 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, he 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 'I'm 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 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 'olidays 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, Mr Atkins," when they find you in the street. 
There's s'pposed 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 into the air, 
An' me pistol jammed when snipers fired. That's why I'm laid up 'ere. 
Yes, it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, "We 'ave to watch the pence"; 
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!

subrosa said...

Excellent analysis Apogee. Deserves a post of its own ;)

subrosa said...

Thanks so much for that Ian. I'll copy it and keep it on my Evernote.

Brian said...

This is a longstanding problem in Exeter as this newspaper article shows:

I'm glad that Timepiece is still going, thirty years on - must have lost 10% hearing there ;). When I was at uni then it was wise to avoid pubs frequented by Paras and Marines because if they did kick off they could run faster as well as punch hard. Feel free to disagree, but in my experience the average squaddie has a greater preference for attempting to solve problems with violence instead of calm discussion than weedy law students. That said, I'm grateful that rough men stand ready to do violence on my behalf.

subrosa said...

For many years the military were discouraged from going into pubs Brian, but with the demise of messes and NAAFI clubs they have no where else to socialise.

I'm grateful too.

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