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Ode to Blandford Army Camp


There’s an isolated, desolated spot I’d like to mention,

Where all you hear is ‘Stand at Ease’, ‘Slope Arms’, ‘Quick March’, ‘Attention’.

It’s miles away from anywhere, by Gad, it’s a rum’un,

A chap lived there for fifty years and never saw a woman.


There’s only two lamps in the place, so tell it to your mother,

The postman carries one, the policeman has the other.

And if you want a jolly night, and do not care a jot,

You take a ride upon the car, the car they haven’t got.


There are lots of little huts, all dotted here and there,

For those who have to live inside, I’ve offered many a prayer.

Inside the huts, there’s RATS as big as any nanny goat,

Last night a soldier saw one fitting on his overcoat.


For breakfast every morning, just like Mother Hubbard,

You double round the bloomin’ hut and jump up at the cupboard.

Sometimes you get bacon, sometimes ‘lively’ cheese,

That forms platoon upon your plate, orders arms and stands at ease.


It’s mud up to the eyebrows, you get it in your ears,

But into it you’ve got to go without a sign of fear.

And when you’ve had a bath of mud, you just set to and groom,

And get cleaned up for next parade, or else it’s ‘Orderly Room’.


Week in, week out, from morn to night, with full pack and rifle,

Like Jack & Jill, you climb the hills, of course that’s just a trifle.

Slope Arms’, ‘Fix Bayonets’, then ‘Pressed’, they fairly put you through it,

And as you stagger to your hut, the sergeant shouts ‘Jump to it’.


There’s another kind of drill, especially invented for the Army,

I think they call it Swedish, and it nearly drives you barmy.

This blinking drill, it does you good, it makes your bones so tender,

You can coil yourself up like a snake and crawl beneath the fender.


With tunics, boots and putties off, you quickly get the habit,

You gallop up and down the hills just like a bloomin’ rabbit.

Heads Back & Bend’, ‘Arms Upward Stretch’, ‘Heads Raise’ then ‘Ranks, Change Places’,

And later on they make you put your kneecaps where your face is.


Now when the war is over and we’ve captured Kaiser Billy,

To shoot him would be merciful and absolutely silly.

Just send him down to our old camp, among the rats and clay,

And I bet it won’t be long before he droops and fades away.

But we’re still ‘Merry and Bright!

(Source: a 1914-18 War postcard about Blandford Camp)



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