Poems from the desert

These following poems were taken from Private Seales paperwork and are copied as they were written. I do not know if he wrote them, but what I do know is that the Crusader the Eighth Army's own weekly newspaper at the time ran a competition for its members to send in poems for its Christmas 1942 edition. Around 403 poems were submitted by 208 competitors so maybe these 3 poems could have been entries. When you read them you get the feel that maybe morale was a little low and there was a bit of resentment towards their comrades back home, but I guess that can be excused seeing the horrors they went through day in day out... I think we would all feel a little resentment.

More of Private Seale's papers can be seen on Royal Artillery/RASC/RAOC


When you're sweating in the desert, and tormented by the flies, and you think that life is really tough, Just give a thought to Blighty were hardship really lies, For the boys back in blighty have it rough.

When you've half a pint of water thats to last you all day, You decide to have a brew and not a wash, But for some poor chaps in Blighty-why-the pubs a mile away-And they have to be content with lemon squash.

When you haven't read a paper than less than two months old, And the Christmas mail reaches you in May, Those lonesome boys in Blighty are really in the cold, Their homes are-well-quite fifty miles away.

When you're six months in the desert, and get only two days leave, And you never see a women or a tree, Cast your mind again to Blighty how the poor chaps there must grieve, When they only get alternate week-ends free.

So why should you be selfish, for we the stony heart whilst others sacrifice a life of ease, NO just take us back to blighty and let us do our part, We won't complain-just get the tickets please.

The Men England Forgot

We are the little band of men England forgot, The things we asked for really weren't a lot, A few days home once a year-was that a lot to ask? A chance everyone else has had to ease the heavy task, We sweat and toil and very seldom moan its not so easy after years from home, She has Canadians and Aussies, Poles, Checks, Norwegians, Froggies to take the place of men England forgot.

When we pick the paper up to read, the news we notice all the underhand abuse. The blokes back there in blighty getting leave weeks at a time, We think its about due to see some of them up the line. All those foreigners in blighty roaming loose when we get back will surely cook their goose. Though they may be quite a rough lot they will find that we are a tough lot. We're that little band of men England forgeot.

Though we call ourselves the men that England forgot And though we think that we' are left out here to rot, the day is drawing nearer with the reckoning at hand when we can pack our kit and quit this god for saken land. Then someone else will have to answer to the blokes who've lived so long out in the blue. We don't very often natter but this is a serious matter, you'll remember the MEN ENGLAND FORGOT.

The Mountains of Mourne. Egyptian Version

Now, Mary, this Egypt's a terrible land, for there's one blade of grass to ten acres of sand, As for the climate, I'd give it away, you're frozen by night and you're roasted by day.

As for the people 'Tis my firm belief, their common ancestors, the penitent thief, But, Mary, with you I would rather be, where the blue hills of Scotland, stand up from the sea.

Believe me, this Egypt's a terrible place, where the men wear long skirts and the girls hide their face, But, in my opinion it would far better please, if the men hid their faces and the girls showed their knees.

Old Hassen, with three wives, is easily vexed, he gets hell in this world - and the same in the next, But for all that I've seen I would far rather be, Where the blue hills of Scotland Stand up from the sea.

Now the language they use is entirely absurd, they do all their talking with only one word, From Suez to Cairo, and far El-Erish, they gabble one word, and that word is Bucksheesh, Bucksheesh when you drink and Bucksheesh when you eat, Bucksheesh at each corner you pass in the street.

But I'd let all the Bucksheesh in Egypt go free, for the Blue Hills of Scotland stand up from the sea.


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