Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems




From the George Bateman Collection, copiled by Howard Rose.


 Middle East Astern

 Composed by Ships Crew,


The troops were all doing their job,

When one day, the order came,

"Old Curtin" was needing the AIF men,

To save Australia's name.

So we picked up our ghats, and put on our packs.

And hopped on the train right away.

There was lots of commotion, to get to the ocean,

Where the "Laconia" lay,


Chorus:  Bless 'em all, Bless 'em all

They gave us no escort at all,

They poked the ships nose into Aden one day,

And shoved us off, for good old Bombay,

Oh, my "Gawd", how they mucked us about,

We thought we were stuck to the ground.

Oh, what a commotion, we caused in the ocean,

By turning us around and around.


Our troopship was stuck in Bombay,

Driving the "pay wallahs" quite grey,

Hoards of "piasbries" and stacks of Rupees,

With "mils" and "annas", we're quite at our ease.

There "ackers" and dollars and "deeners" and "zacs",

Sterling, with old Grecian "dracs"

Fewer conveersions and more pay dispersions,

Then we'll give old Sydney a crack.


chorus:  Bless 'em all, bless 'em all

The O.C. pay blokes and all,

They've all toiled in Cairo and Beiruit as well,

They sat down in Gaze, and all had a spell.

And when history is written one day,

Of all these heroes, the'll say,

They got their promotion, this side of the ocean

For struggling with pay in Bombay.


At last we have left stinking Bombay,

'Neath the flag of the old U S A,

The Willard H. Holbrook, a hell of a ship,

The boys say they've all had the "pip",

There's no fresh water so you can wash your face,

But that does not matter at all.

There's full compensation in our destination,

But why don't they clap on the pace,


chorus:  Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,

We wish that they wouldn't stall,

They say it's Colombo, we hope it's all rot,

We'd sooner have Sydney, with a flamin' big pot,

But we are saying goodbye to it all,

As into our quarters we fall.

We'll hope for commotion, they can keep their promotion,

When we say "Hello" to them all.



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