19 March 1918
I have gathered my belongings, and I’ve put them in my pack—
There’s a half a ton a-pulling and a-straining at my back.
And I’ve chucked my old tin helmet, and I’m wearing now instead
A collapsible gor-blimey, which is comfort for the head.
I have had my shoes amended, I have had my feet inspected,
I am passed as fit for marching by the mile.
I have had my hair cut freely, and my clothing disinfected,
But d’you think that I am grousing? I should smile.
There’s a little Frenchy village that we hope we’re passing through,
An estaminet pour Soldats where we used to parly-voo.
There are cider apple orchards we’d be most annoyed to miss
And there’s one or two among us with a girl or two to kiss.
There are fields all white with harvest, there are roads without a shell hole,
There are roofs without a hole to spill the rain;
So we can’t be very sorry when we leave this damned old hell-hole,
And Division’s going out on trek again.
We have done with endless strafings, we have done with standing to,
We have done with steel and bullet shell and shock;
And we’re going barrack-squaring, as the old troops used to do
In the days before the Kaiser ran amok.
We are leaving shattered houses, leaving desolated regions,
We are making for the townships might and main,
Till they turn us round all standing, the recuperated legions,
And they head us for the trenches once again.
For we’re going out on trek again,
Out of the line on trek again,
Back-areawards on trek again;
Our feet are all a-dance
Upon the good old cobble roads,
The humpy, bumby cobble roads,
The hell-for-leather cobble roads.
The cobble roads of France.