ONE OF THE RANK AND VILE
by
T.W. Connor
Billy Bennett
I'm only a Private Soldier, 
One of the Rank and Vile,
But since I've had bayonets after me 
I've travelled many a mile.

In love with the Sergeant-Major 
From the first day that we met 
He only said a few words to me, 
But his voice I shall never forget.

My parents thought me a slacker 
Frightened of taking a chance;
I soon settled their doubts, when I joined the Boy Scouts
And went hiking without any pants.

And some said, 'Good old Sergeant!'
We couldn't have got on without one
Each heart would rejoice at the sound of his voice,
And the Buglers all blew him out one

There were men with no clothes and the skin off their nose,
And Scotchmen without any trousers,
And when the wind blew round their 'How d'ye' do'
They shook like the new Council houses.

But everyone was welcome 
And some rousing cheers we got,
And a Number 9, three times a week 
Whether we wanted it or not!

And the Frenchy Gels and Madamoiselles 
Were all so jolly and jokey,
I went and changed my fourpenny bit 
And spent it on 'Hokey Pokey.'

And the songs we sung behind the Lines
I always got an Encore 
'Til the P'lice came in and said, 'Cut this out
We've heard that one-before!'

It may have been old, but all the same 
The Chorus was quite a good 'un- 
And the last line-very touching 
'I don't want your Christmas-pudden!'

But we might as well enjoy ourselves, 
It was no use getting 'Ratty'
So every one was cheerful, yes,
And everyone was chatty.

And yet I longed for Home, sweet Home;
My wife-and all sorts of things 
So one dark night I swapped my boots
For a pair of waterwings.

And that night I swam the channel, 
But had all my trouble in vain,
For when I got home I found my wife 
Had gone back to her husband again!

But the Sergeant-Major loved us all, 
He'd a birthday every year,
When we asked him into the Canteen
And somebody poisoned his beer.

That night we broke through the Front-line, 
And that was a night to remember;
When I saw the fireworks all going off 
I thought 'twas the 5th of November!

But whenever a battle was raging 
They always knew where to find us;
I was always so eager to get to the front 
I left all the others behind me.

And how we did make the enemy run 
Faster than tram or bus;
But we didn't care how fast they ran, 
We knew they could never catch us! 

The night was dark-we thought of Hyde Park,
We thought of the girls on the benches 
All sad and alone, sitting there on their own 
And we wished we had them in the Trenches.

And there was the enemy, ten million strong, 
On the banks of the river they'd massed 'em.
We hadn't a shot that would reach to that spot,
So we took off our boots... and gassed 'em!

And while they were laying all fast asleep 
We captured their horses and ponies.
Then telephoned home for a sausage machine 
And made 'em all into Polonies

And that's how I saved our army
As sure as I'm a sinner 
For as soon as the enemy saw the grub
They all knocked off for dinner! 

I led a charmed life, away from my wife, 
Though how I got through was a riddle;
But I kept level-headed when danger was nigh, 
By parting my hair in the middle! 

But I never got any medals
When they told me it made me wince, 
But I got my reward for I'm pleased to say
I've been out o' work ever since.

And the Colonel was sorry to lose me
Said his heart was filled with pain,
And if ever another war breaks out 
I might come back again! 
The end