Dora B. Montefiore 1918

Mud Flats of Flanders & North France


Source: The Call, 24 October 1918, p. 1
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


Oh, it’s good to be a driver in the M.T.C.,
And I’m leading this old. Daimler such a dance:
My home is in Australia, but I came across the sea
To-bump along the cobbles of North France.

Eleven weeks we wallowed, and we pitched, and then we tossed
From Melbourne to the lights of Plymouth Sound;
Our convoy squelched a U Boat, which will be reported “Lost,”
And next day we marched with joy on English ground.

Then we trained in wind and showers on those ruddy Salisbury Plains,
And we went on leave, in London, for a spree;
And now we’re hustling Daimlers through eternal autumn rains
Learning “Parlez-vous” and “Mademoiselle, merci.”

But on board ship I was reading how a hundred years ago
Napoleon fought where we are fighting now;
How the towns were wrecked and ruined, how tears and blood did flow,
And how Flanders was the centre of the row.

I read of how Nap threatened to invade old Blighty’s shore;
Just the same as Kaiser William raves and prays,
With his “Good old Gott”, as ally; on whom he sets great store
As a helper, in these drum-fire shell-gas days.

And I read of Marlborough’s victories at Malplaquet and elsewhere,
And how King Hal at Agincourt won fame;
And I think of all the millions whose bones lie rotting here
In this cockpit a old Europe’s field of shame.

And I muse of home and sunshine in our young Australia’s land,
Where the People have more space and air to grow;
And I wonder why we came to worry Kaiser William’s German Band,
Why we joined the quarrel here from “down below.”

And I think of him, my pal that was (now trodden in the mire),
With shell splinters in his belly, and his face awry with pain;
And I grit my teeth and curse the man as double damnedest liar
Who drove us to be slayers, or be slain.

For I’ve learnt that Fritz is much like us, and wants to live in peace;
That his Empire is as selfish as our own,
That until the People free themselves these wars will never cease,
So we’ll have to spring-clean Church and State and Throne.

Oh, its good to be a driver in the M.T.C.,
And to watch the “Subs” who give themselves away,
And to teach the swine that some day their time will cease to be,-
When the khaki’s off and they are, . well, just they.

So we drive along to Heaven or Hell, as the blessed Fates decree,
And we lead our blamed old Daimlers such a dance,
As we think of Home and kiddies whom we’ve left across the sea,
While we bump along the cobbles of North France.

D. B. MONTEFIORE