“Servigliano Calling” Poem #23

This ballad of heroism by Bdr. P. G. Whapples would have had special significance for Robert Dickinson, who was himself a gunner in the Royal Artillery.

The crest Robert drew to illustrate this poem is the same crest that adorns his grave marker at Milan Military Cemetery.

The Artillery’s motto, “Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt,” translates “Where Duty and Glory Lead.”

The Gunner

Come sit by my chair lad, I’ll tell you with pride
Of my brave Gunner comrades who fell at my side,
Who stuck to their posts—the smouldering guns
Spewing destruction to those vile hated Huns;
In that thick desert heat—no where else can compete
Only Egypt and Lybia (one’s out in his feet)—
Through the smoke and the shell from my side came a yell;
I looked at old Brummy-Stone, dead as he fell;
Our No. one gone—leaving five, four, and three,
And a good pile of Ammo and with it was me.

The Jock gave a shout and said “Pal, count me out”
There’s a pain in my legs—the Devil’s own gout.
With a quick glance at Mac he was there on his pack,
With his “Scotland Forever ye’ll nae see me back”;
With our gun going well but leaving just three;
We were madmen from Hell when a sniper caught me.
I was game for a “do” but “lie still” from the two
Made me realize—my soldiering was though.
The Gerry came on in spite of the strain,
Towards our old gun-pit, but those two remain;
Old Jordie is hit, I could tell by his grin,
Just as I guessed—a great gash on his chin.

He was told to lay off but said “not on your life!
All’s fair in war but not to my wife;
It’s just them or me; I’ll not move an inch.”
He died like a Hero, not even a flinch;
Poor old No. three was doing his best
When all of a sudden the whole Gun went west,
But not by the Gerry—but old Number three
With a round in each end he destroyed it you see.
So listen! my lad—if a soldier you’ll be
Join up and be proud of the ARTILLERY!