The Great War

from War, The Liberator and Other Pieces, an electronic edition

My Old Grenade

Tune--"My Old Shako"

I MIND the day, my old grenade,

When first we met at war,

'Twas in a little billet place

Six months ago and more;

I dreamt that I should be cashiered,

As I went to the Orderly Room--

'Twas then I met our Adjutant,

And he spoke my final doom.

Heigh-ho, you have got to know

All about the bombs and how to detonate and throw,

And then I hope you'll bring us back, when to the line we go,

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty Bosches in a row.

I recollect, my old grenade,

The time I tried that same,

'Twas in a most unpleasant wood,

The Hammerhead1 by name,

When we waited for three hours or more

Under the Bosches' fire--

But I only got a beastly cold

And some scratches from the wire.

Heigh-ho, how was I to know

They'd wired the bottom of the ditch by which we had to go

And that was how I somehow failed to get the D.S.O.,

With ten, twenty, thirty, forty Bosches in a row.

I'm waiting now, my old grenade,

Until the spring sets in,

And the blinking old Division

More pushing will begin.

And when you come to bury me

With a handy pick and spade,

Just write, " Here lies a grenadier

That loathed his old grenade."

Heigh-ho, and I hope that I shall go

To a place where I shall never get an order or memo.,

And here's to every gallant lad that gets a D.S.O.

By bringing twenty, thirty, forty Bosches in a row.


1. Hammerhead Wood, Thiepval, where the Bosches nearly cut short a bright young life.