On August 4, 1942 Robert Dickinson wrote in his diary:
“A new invention in the camp ‘a Blower’. Denis has got cracking and has made lots of improvements and now we have a blower. Affair of wheels and belts and a fan. Turn the wheel slow and get about 1000 revs a minute, guaranteed to burn charcoal (other peoples embers), socks and even sawdust.”
In the drawing above this poem, an ode to the evening “brew,” by Cpl. D. Nevitt, a camp cookstove, or ‘blower,’ is shown in remarkable detail.
it must go through
I have passed some weary times,
Trying hard to make up rhymes,
But now I think I’ve found one that will do;
It’s about a thing we say
Every evening, every day,
That’s our motto: “The Brew, it must go through.”
Every night there can be seen,
’Tween the wall and hut thirteen,
Scores of men all kneeling down, and what a crew,
There they waft and there they blow,
Private, sergeant, W.O.
Never mind the rank, the brew it must go through.
If H.Q. could only see
Those sergeant-majors on one knee,
They would cry “what is our army coming to”?
If they had one scoop per day,
I’m sure that they would say,
“Most decidedly, the brew it must go through.”
There are patent fire cans,
Ovens, stoves and frying pans,
And they’ve even got a new invention too;
It’s a belt-propelled affair,
Wails and whines, and blows out air,
And all because the brew it must go through.
But the fuel’s very poor,
Old socks, cardboard, even straw,
But we do get wood sometimes, it’s true;
But if we use much more;
We’ll be sleeping on the floor,
But even then the brew it must go through.
Men have suffered many times
For this noblest of all crimes
And they’ve had to pay a lot of lire too,
So raise your brews and drink
To those martyrs in the clink,
And the toast is to the brew that must go through.