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Date: July 21st 1916

[published in the trenchpaper “The Listening Post” July 21, 1916, No. 18, pg. 113]        

Dedicated to the –(Censor)-, A/Adj. to the 1st Moaners Battalion, and greatest living authority on the subject.

Did ever you hear of the poor moaning man,
Who's built on the grumbling and all grousing plan,
Who murmurs strange oaths from each early dawn,
And continues complaining in tones all forelorn.
Till night closes in and slumber prevails,
This poor moaning mortal his fate e'er bewails.

We have such a man in our number eight
Whose troubles and trials, I'll try to relate.
He'd moan at the stars, he'd moan at the moon,
He'd moan at the lasses when out for a spoon.
He'd moan at his breakfast because 'twas hot,
He'd moan at his dinner because it was not;
He'd moan at the Sergeants and wish them in H--l
And if they should get there, he'd moan just as well.

He'd moan at the mud and he'd moan at the dust,
He'd moan at his rifle and leave it to rust,
He'd grouse at the Germans and fume at the French,
And mumble his curse on mortar or trench.
He'd moan at the horses, the wagons, the goat,
He'd moan at his harness, his boots or his coat.
But one thing gave rise to no little surprise
When he moaned at the cook house about the chef’s pies.

He'd moan at a private, a sergeant or sub,
He'd moan upon entering a popular pub,
His comrades were stupid, or noisey, or dumb,
He'd moan if they had or had not some rum.
Never, I ween has this wicked world seen,
So morbid a moaner or kicker so keen.
It came to the ears of Headquarters at last
And a major they made him (promotion is fast),
But he moaned all the more – far worse than before.

So they dubbed him a martyr till after the war,
And gave him the run of the Q.M. Store,
With a team of rare moaners with grievances sore,
A batman or two who had nought else to do
But sit still and grouse at their duties so few;
The pick of the Moaners Battalion were they,
For they mumbled all night and they grumbled all day.
But nobody seemed one penny the worse
Except the poor readers of this wretched verse,
And so when he quits this weary old earth,
Be sure he will haunt us in trouble or mirth.
His shadow will murmur when we tell the tale,
Of how we fought Germans and drank Belgian ale.

                        G.J.G., No. 8 Co., Divl. Train.

Original Scans

Original Scans

WWI poem to “1st Moaners Battalion” in trenchpaper “The Listening Post” 7th Canadian Infantry Bn.