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'Sheffield Steel'

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Guest Trefcon

From 'A Yeoman's Letters', P.T. Ross.

Trooper, Boer War.

Did I ever use the bay'nit, sir?

In the far off Transvaal War,

Where I fought for Queen and country, sir,

Against the wily Boer.

Aye, many a time and oft, sir,

I've bared the trusty blade,

And blessed the dear old Homeland, sir,

Where it was carefully made.

• Chorus

Then here's to the British bay'nit

Made of Sheffield steel,

And here's to the men who bore it -

Stalwart men and leal.

You notice the dents on the edge, sir

At Bronkhurst Spruit they were done;

I was getting a door for a fire,

For out of wood we had run.

I was smiting hard at the door, sir,

Or rafter, I'm not sure which,

When I struck on an iron screw, sir,

And the bay'nit got this niche.

'Tis my mighty Excalibur, sir,

I've use it in joy and grief,

For digging up many a tater,

Or opening bully beef.

I have used it for breaking wire,

Making tents 'gainst rain and sun;

I have used it as a hoof-pick,

In a hundred ways and one.

Oh, how did the point get blunted, sir?

I was driving it home

As a picketing peg for my horse,

So that he should not roam.

I drove it in a little, sir,

And then in my haste, alas,

I stubbed the point on a rock, sir,

Some inches below the grass.

You ask if it e'er took a life, sir?

Aye, I mind the time full well;

I had spotted him by a farm, sir,

And went for him with a yell.

He tried to escape me hard, sir,

But I plunged it in his side,

And there by his own backyard, sir,

A healthy porker died.

But did I draw it in action?

You ask me roughly now.

Yes, we were taking a kopje,

The foe were on the brow.

We drew and fixed our bay'nits,

The sun shone on the steel:

Death to the sniping beggars

We were about to deal.

Then, sweating and a-puffing,

We scaled the rocky heights,

But when we reaches the top, sir,

The foe was out of sight.

Has it e'er drawn human blood?

Yes once, I grieve to say;

It was not in a battle,

Or any bloody fray;

'Twas just outside Pretoria,

The deed was never meant,

I slipped and fell on the point, sir,

'Twas quite by accident.

• Chorus

Then here's to the British bay'nit

Made of Sheffield steel,

And here's to the men who bore it -

Stalwart men and leal.

And here's to the Millennium,

The time of peaceful peace,

When neighbours shall love each other,

And wicked wars shall cease.

From "A Yeoman's Letters," PT Ross, 1901

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Fantastic ! It's a bit Kiplingesque (as they say down Attercliffe) don't you think? . Can't help thinking about Cprl Jones lol

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Thanks for that Dean, Its great ! I am going to use it at our Retired Men's Forum Poetry morning next month.


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