Although I've served near thirty years,
Achieving rank high as can be.
I still remember first parade,
And sergeant starting feud with me.
We'd shuffled on parade in line,
Still yet to learn to dress our ranks;
Each nervous with anticipation,
While sergeant to the Lord gives thanks.
But now the time for first inspection,
Worried corporal standing nigh,
As sergeant moves on down our line,
Will he, won't he, pass me by?
In those days when just fifteen years
Yet five feet nine and very thin;
Cocky, full of verve and vim,
But not yet having shaved my chin.
So sense my fright when this grown man
With medal ribbons from the War,
Intent it seems on finding fault
Stops, stoops, then gives a roar.
I freeze with horror, sudden shock.
The corporal runs up with his book.
Do you see this? screams sergeant's voice.
A hairy chin, come take a look.
And they do, heads close together.
Both now peering at my chin.
Take his name the Sergeant murmurs,
Thus, I'm noted down for sin.
Black book closes, sergeant passes
And I think 'alright for some'.
But now he's shouting at another;
'Just you wait, I'll tell my mum'.