The modern day Tommy Atkins

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Written by Patrick Campbell

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 'im 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!

Courtesy of Bordeaux Binger
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Anonymous said...

A marvellous poem, capturing so well the spirit of the Kipling original, and just as true.

Thank you - my son-in-law is a Rifleman in this lot - it's a pity his political masters aren't there to do their bit, too.

30 July 2009 at 18:41
Edgar said...

How ironic that the constant refrain from the political bods is 'What we need is change' and not a damn thing has changed in the Government's attitude to the 'Saviours of our country'.

30 July 2009 at 19:21