Witley, August 2, 1917

Witley Humourous Recitation coverThursday        Rain all day its quite a job keeping the rust away busy today washing down Rec’d 2 letters from [Janie]. she speaks of cooking my I could do with a little just now our meals are fierce and the dishes they serve is [sic] more like swill

There must have been thousands of copies of this bit of doggerel sold through Eatons at Witley — price one penny. Written by an infantryman, and descriptive of his routine rather than that of a gunner, it nevertheless struck such a chord that Percy bracketed and underlined several passages, such as this one:

 

For Breakfast every morning, it’s like old Mother Hubbard,
You double round the Hut three times and jump up at the cupboard.
Sometimes they give you Bacon, but when they give you Cheese
It forms Platoon upon your plate, orders arms, and stands at ease.

Thus Witley. By contrast, here’s Wilfrid Wilson Gibson’s “Breakfast” somewhere in France:

We ate our breakfast lying on our backs,
Because the shells were screeching overhead.
I bet a rasher to a loaf of bread
That Hull United would beat Halifax
When Jimmy Stainthorpe played full-back instead
of Billy Bradford.  Ginger raised his head
And cursed, and took the bet; and dropt back dead.
We ate our breakfast lying on our backs,
Because the shells were screeching overhead.

 

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”
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