SERGEANT-MAJOR MONEY by ROBERT GRAVES (1917)
It wasn't our battalion, but we lay alongside it, So the story is as true as the telling is frank. They hadn't one Line-officer left, after Arras, Except a batty major and the Colonel, who drank.
'B' Company Commander was fresh from the DepÃ´t, An expert on gas drill, otherwise a dud; So Sergeant-Major Money carried on, as instructed, And that's where the swaddies began to sweat blood.
His Old Army humour was so well-spiced and hearty That one poor sod shot himself, and one lost his wits; But discipline's maintained, and back in rest-billets The Colonel congratulates 'B' Company on their kits.
The subalterns went easy, as was only natural With a terror like Money driving the machine, Till finally two Welshmen, butties from the Rhondda, Bayoneted their bugbear in a field-canteen.
Well, we couldn't blame the officers, they relied on Money; We couldn't blame the pitboys, their courage was grand; Or, least of all, blame Money, an old stiff surviving In a New (bloody) Army he couldn't understand.
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|Author||Graves, Robert (1895-1985)|
|Item Date||(1995, 1997, 1999)|
|Copyright||The Robert Graves Copyright Trust|
|First line||It wasn't our battalion, but we lay alongside it,|
|Publication source||Robert Graves Complete Poems: Volumes 1 - 3|
|Publication editor||Graves, Beryl and Ward, Dunstan|
|Digital repository||The First World War Poetry Digital Archive|