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.
ALBERT, SAM AND THE DODO
by Peter Booker 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