Rudyard Kipling's The Screw Guns

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by LBdr_Pigshagger, Jan 11, 2005.

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  1. He really liked the Gunners, did old Rudyard. When he wasn't writing about talking jungle animals, he was writing about the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

    Any ex 94 Regiment here remember that our last act as a Regiment was to sing (YES, SING) this to the assembled dignitaries and guests?

    Anyway, here's the poem...

    SCREW-GUNS


    Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
    I walks in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule,
    With seventy gunners be'ind me, an' never a beggar forgets
    It's only the pick of the Army
    that handles the dear little pets -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
    So when we call round with a few guns,
    o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
    Jest send in your Chief an' surrender --
    it's worse if you fights or you runs:
    You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees,
    but you don't get away from the guns!

    They sends us along where the roads are, but mostly we goes where they ain't:
    We'd climb up the side of a sign-board an' trust to the stick o' the paint:
    We've chivied the Naga an' Looshai, we've give the Afreedeeman fits,
    For we fancies ourselves at two thousand,
    we guns that are built in two bits -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

    If a man doesn't work, why, we drills 'im an' teaches 'im 'ow to behave;
    If a beggar can't march, why, we kills 'im an' rattles 'im into 'is grave.
    You've got to stand up to our business an' spring without snatchin' or fuss.
    D'you say that you sweat with the field-guns?
    By God, you must lather with us -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

    The eagles is screamin' around us, the river's a-moanin' below,
    We're clear o' the pine an' the oak-scrub,
    we're out on the rocks an' the snow,
    An' the wind is as thin as a whip-lash what carries away to the plains
    The rattle an' stamp o' the lead-mules --
    the jinglety-jink o' the chains -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

    There's a wheel on the Horns o' the Mornin',
    an' a wheel on the edge o' the Pit,
    An' a drop into nothin' beneath you as straight as a beggar can spit:
    With the sweat runnin' out o' your shirt-sleeves,
    an' the sun off the snow in your face,
    An' 'arf o' the men on the drag-ropes
    to hold the old gun in 'er place -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns . . .

    Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
    I climbs in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule.
    The monkey can say what our road was --
    the wild-goat 'e knows where we passed.
    Stand easy, you long-eared old darlin's!
    Out drag-ropes! With shrapnel! Hold fast -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
    For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
    So when we take tea with a few guns,
    o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
    Jest send in your Chief an' surrender --
    it's worse if you fights or you runs:
    You may hide in the caves, they'll be only your graves,
    but you can't get away from the guns!




     
  2. Was that before or after the razzer showed us his ring ???
     
  3. That's funny, there are quite a few of Rudyard Kipling's poems dedicated to the Infantry and several puerly about the Royal Engineers and I'm sure loads of others get a mention too. So why is it you think that he was either writing about "talking jungle animals" he was on about the Artillery?
     
  4. For example:-

    A Salute To The Engineers


    Now the Lord of the Realm has glorified the Charge of the Light Brigade,
    And the thin red line of the Infantry, when will their glory fade?
    There are robust rhymes on the British Tar and classics on Musketeers,
    But I shall sing, till your eardrums ring, of the Muddy Old Engineers.
    Now it's all very fair to fly through the air, or humour a heavy gun,
    Or ride in tanks through the broken ranks of the crushed and shattered Hun.
    And its nice to think when the U-Boats sink of the glory that outlives the years,
    But whoever heard an haunting word for the Muddy Old Engineers?
    Now you musn't feel, when you read this spiel, that the sapper is a jealous knave,
    That he joined the ranks for a vote of thanks in search of a hero's grave
    No your mechanised cavalrys' quite alright and your Tommy has drained few peers,
    But where in hell would the lot of them be, if it weren't for the Engineers,
    Oh they look like tramps but they build your camps and sometimes lead the advance,
    And they sweat red blood to bridge the flood to give you a fighting chance
    Who stays behind when its getting hot, to blow up the roads in the rear?
    Just tell your wife she owes your life to some Muddy Old Engineer,
    Some dusty, crusty, croaking, joking Muddy Old Engineer.
    No fancy crest is pinned to their chest, if you read what their cap badge says,
    Why 'Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense' is a queersome sort of praise,
    But their modest claim to immortal fame has probably reached your ears,
    The first to arrive, the last to leave, the Muddy Old Engineers,
    The sweating, go getting, uproarious, glorious Muddy Old Engineers.


    by
    Rudyard Kipling


    Not too much praise on the RA there me thinks. Or how about:-

    THE SAPPER


    When the waters were dried an' the Earth did appear,
    ("It's all one", says the Sapper),
    The Lord He created the Engineer,
    Her Majesty's Royal Engineer,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    When the flood comes along for an extra monsoon,
    'Twas Noah constructed the first Pontoon,
    To the plans of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    But after fatique in the wet an' the sun,
    Old Noah got drunk, which he wouldn't ha' done,
    If he'd trained with Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    When the Tower o' Babel has mixed up men's bat,
    Some clever civilian was managing that,
    An' none of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    When the Jews had a fight at the foot of a hill,
    Young Joshua ordered the sun to stand still,
    For he was a Captain of Engineers,
    Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    When the children of Israel made bricks without straw,
    They were learnin' the regular works of our Corps,
    The work of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    For ever since then, if a war they would wage,
    Behold us a - shinin' on history's page-
    First page for Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    We lay down their sidings an' help 'em entrain'
    An' we sweep up their mess through the bloomin' campaign,
    In the style of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With rank and pay of a Sapper!


    They send us in front with a fuse an' a mine,
    To blow up the gates that are rushed by the line,
    But bent by Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    They send us behind with a pick an' a spade,
    To dig for the guns of a bullock-brigade,
    Which has asked for Her Majesty's Royal Engineer,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    We work under escort in trousers and shirt,
    An' the heathen they plug us tail-up in the dirt,
    Annoying Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank pay of a Sapper!


    We blast out the rock an' we shovel the mud,
    We make 'em good roads an' - they roll down the Khud,
    Reporting Her Majesty's Royal Egineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    We make 'em their bridges, their wells an' their huts,
    An' the telegraph wire the enemy cuts,
    An' it's blamed on Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    An' when we return, an' from war we would cease,
    They grudge us adornin' billets of peace,
    Which are kept for Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and pay of a Sapper!


    We build 'em nice barracks- they swear they are bad,
    That our Colonels are Methodist, married or mad,
    Insultin' Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With rank and pay of a Sapper!


    They haven't no manners nor gratitude too,
    For the more that we help 'em the less they will do,
    But mock at Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With rank and pay of a Sapper!


    Now the Lines but a man with a gun in his hand,
    An' Cavalry's only what horses can stand,
    When helped by Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With rank and pay of a Sapper!


    Artillery moves by the leave o' the ground,
    But we are the men that do something all round,
    For we are Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With rank and pay of a Sapper!


    I have stated it plain an' my arguments thus
    ("It's all one", says the Sapper)
    There's only one Corps which is perfect - thats us,
    An' they call us Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
    With the rank and the pay of a Sapper!


    by Rudyard Kipling

    Once again, more RE that RA don't you think? So you really do have to ask if old Rudyard really was so Artiillery obsessed? Or is Pigshagger talking out of his arrse?
     
  5. Sounds like a ferret but not quite. I have got a few BPs to give away, maybe you could try one :)
     
  6. That'll be me. Who's this then?
     
  7. Great memory that. The CO addresses the Regiment for the last time then the RSM is requested to "Sing! Sing! Or show us your ring!"

    RSM promptly undoes his tropicals and pulls down his under-crackers then moons each Battery in turn....
    :D
     
  8. More Rudyard Kipling

    "Fear God, Honour the Queen
    Shoot Straight and Keep Clean."
     
  9. GunnersQuadrant

    GunnersQuadrant LE Moderator


    Why is there Royal Engineer dross in the Gunners board?

    OUT!!!

    :D
     
  10. Do they still make the YOs sing The Screw Guns at the dine in at Woolwich? Was rather ammusing not least because most of the assembled parents had not a clue what it was all about.