THE SUN 04 Aug 2009
A British squaddie fighting in Afghanistan has re-written a famous Rudyard Kipling poem as a damning attack on a soldier's lot today. The anonymous serviceman based his words on The Young British Soldier - written by Kipling in 1895 about the hellish conditions our troops had to deal with in 19th century conflicts in Afghanistan. The squaddie's new poem - dubbed Afghanistan (With Apologies To Kipling) - shows that little has changed, with soldiers having to contend with poor pay, equipment shortages and slum homes as well as the enemy. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British poet and author, wrote a poem in 1895 about the hellish conditions British troops had to put up with in AfghanistanIt refers to a "Gimpy" - GPMG or general purpose machine gun - and "arty", slang for artillery. The poem was first posted on the internet and is now being emailed around the military like wildfire. One Army officer just back from Helmand Province said last night: "Whoever this bloke is, he's got it spot-on. He has summed up everything we're feeling." It shows that nothing much changes for us over the centuries.
Afghanistan (With apologies To Kipling), by an anonymous British soldier
When you’re lying alone in your Afghan bivvy
And your life it depends on some MOD civvie
When the body armour’s shared (one set between three)
And the firefight’s not like it is on TV,
Then you’ll look to your oppo, your gun and your God,
As you follow that path all Tommies have trod.
When the gimpy has jammed and you’re down to one round,
And the faith that you’d lost is suddenly found.
When the Taliban horde is close up to the fort,
And you pray that the arty don’t drop a round short.
Stick to your sergeant like a good squaddie should,
And fight them like satan or one of his brood
Your pay it won’t cover your needs or your wants,
So just stand there and take all the Taliban’s taunts
Nor generals nor civvies can do aught to amend it,
Except make sure you’re kept in a place you can’t spend it.
Three fifty an hour in your Afghani cage,
Not nearly as much as the minimum wage.
Your missus at home in a foul married quarter
With damp on the walls and a roof leaking water
Your kids miss their mate, their hero, their dad;
They’re missing the childhood that they should have had
One day it will be different, one day by and by,
As you all stand there and watch, to see the pigs fly
Just like your forebears in mud, dust and ditch
You’ll march and you’ll fight, and you’ll drink and you’ll bitch
Whether Froggy or Zulu, or Jerry, or Boer
The Brits will fight on ‘til the battle is over.
You may treat him like dirt, but nowt will unnerve him
But I wonder sometimes, if the country deserves him.