Peter Booker
Written after finding out that my grandfather's old regiment, The 14th Of Foot, had been involved in capturing the island of Mauritius from the French in 1810
There's a place in th' Indian Ocean
Famous for its sugar and stuff
An' where Albert Arbuthnot Ramsbottom
Served in th' army, when t'going were tough!

Aye, young Albert, 'e were a soldier
In t' 'Fourteenth Regiment o' Foot'
Servin' 'is King an' 'is Country
An' findin' adventure to boot!

Then, things were a trifle unsettled,
Wi' Wellington, Napoleon an' that crew,
Fightin' all over Europe,
There, an' in France an' Spain, too!

Now, the Fourteenth 'ad sailed out of India,
Wi'out too much of a wrench,
Aimin' to capture t' "L'ile Maurice"
While puttin' the wind up the French!

Young Albert were there wi' 'is mucker,
A chap by the name o' Sam Small
Who 'ad trouble 'oldin' on to 'is musket
'Im bein' cack-'anded, an' all!

'Twas December AD, eighteen-oh-ten,
An' Christmeas were gettin' quite near.
When Albert an' Sam went out on an 'unt
To capture some Christmas Cheer!

They'd not 'ad a good meal in ages,
'Cept compo rations, 'ard tack an' curry,
An' t'local takeaways only did some French stuff
They didn't want to try in an 'urry!

They'd 'ad bad experiences wi' curry
Biriyani, Madras, Vindaloo
They'd not sat too well in their stomachs
An' they'd worn a deep path to the loo!

So Albert 'n'Sam went off 'untin',
An' soon disappeared in the bush
'Opin' there were nowt nasty in there
So's they didn't 'ave to come out in a rush!

They stopped to rest in the 'eat o' the day
An' after a ten minute doze
They awoke to 'ear a strange sound
Approachin', an' gettin' quite close!

They fearfully peered round the trunk of a tree
To in-vesti-i-gate the noise thay 'ad 'eard
An' gazed, wide-eyed, at the cause o' the sound,
A big, fat, ungainly, white bird!

Albert an' Sam looked at each other
Both on 'em wi' one single thought
This odd lookin' bird wi' the short stumpy wings
Were exactly the thing what they sought!

Sam picked up 'is musket, not droppin' it!
Cocked it an' took careful aim;
An' sightin' an' squeezin' the trigger
'E bagged their fresh Christmas game!

Returnin' t'barracks in triumph,
They presented the bird to the cook,
Requestin' a Full Christmas Dinner,
As were advertised in th'Army Cook Book!

Then Sam delved deep in 'is kitbag
An' like a conjurer wi' t'rabbit an' t'hat
Pulled out a large rounded parcel
Wi' a flourish - just like that!

"Me Mam sent us a Christmas Pudden
An' a note sayin' eat it all up, 'cos,
She 'eard it went down a treat out in Spain
An' were a big 'it in Badajoz!

Christmas Dinner was 'ad in the Mess 'All
Wi' lots o' bird t' go round
Wi' Sam's Christmas Pudden for afters,
Washed down wi' some French vin that they'd found!

They'd lit up their pipes an' loosned their belts
an' prepared for an afternoon nap,
When the door o' the Mess 'All crashed open
An' in walked an Officer's Cap!

The cap were worn by a subaltern
Lt Richard E Bird were 'is name!
Albert 'n' Sam's Company Commander
The one an' the very same!

"Where's that bird?" asked 'e, soundin' angry
'Is face full of venom and 'ate!
'E paced up an' down an' then spotted,
The remains o' the bird on the plate!

Pokin' the bones wi' 'is swagger stick
'E turned red, then purple, then puce!
'E spun on 'is 'eel, glared at 'em all,
An' left, mouthin' oaths an' abuse!

It turned out that that bird was a rare one,
An' not bin seen for many a year,
An' Albert an' Sam, an' the 14th o' Foot
'Ad eaten the last Dodo... Oh, Dear!
The end