War, the Liberator, and Other Pieces/The Smoke Helmet

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Tune—“The Lum Hat wantin’ a Croon”

OH, the Army Corps sent out a note
For Battalion Commanders to warn
Their men, that on any and every pretext,
Or for any excuse in this world or the next,
The Smoke Helmet must never be torn.

And the days rolled placidly by,
Until at inspection one morn
The Colonel discovered that Private Mackay
Had broken the Window that covered his eye
And the front of his Helmet was torn.

So at once to the Captain he went,
And said with incredible scorn,
“The whole of your men are improperly dressed,
And one has a beard reaching down to his breast,
And another’s Smoke Helmet is torn.”

The O.C. for his Subaltern sent,
Who was standing, and looking forlorn,
And he told him at once to make out a Report,
Stating reasons of any and every sort,
Why Mackay’s Smoke Helmet was torn.

So the Subaltern sat up all night,
Till he wished he had never been born,
And sent in a Report to the angry C.O.,
Stating seventy probable reasons or so,
Why Mackay’s Smoke Helmet was torn.

From Brigade to Division it went,
And made General Headquarters to mourn,
And the Master of Ordnance made an Indent,
And a hundred and twenty Smoke Helmets were sent
For the one that Mackay had torn.

And at last it went into Whitehall,
And became an Army Form,
And Form Seven thousand and Ninety-six O
Embodies the seventy reasons or so
Why Mackay’s Smoke Helmet was torn.