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For The Sake Of Example

The House Band


Lingua: Inglese


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Il disertore del lavoro
(Ahmed il Lavavetri)
Déserteur
(Renaud)
Gagiò romanò
(Alessandro Sipolo)


[1985]
Album: "The House Band"

Music & Lyrics: Foley/Martyn/Skelton

Una canzone sulle diserzioni durante la guerra 1914/18.

Trovata qui.
I was fourteen years old when I first started running
And for two years I lived on a seaman's poor wage
'Til I met with a sergeant who said I'd do better
So I joined up by adding two years to my age.

In the winter I found I was scared stiff of dying
Up to my knees in mud and in snow
And I knew then it wasn't just me who was lying
And I wish that I'd heard someone say: Don't you go.

So I ran and I crawled I swam and I stumbled
Away from the sound, the smells and the (sights)
And I got past the barbed wire, the (red caps and bullies)
(that be stationed behind us to help us to fight.)

For six days and more I kept moving westward
Walking by night and hiding by day
'Til at last in the barn of a farmer I trusted
The price of a shilling I was given away.

They took me away many miles from the frontline
And the court-martial's justice was promised to me
But the colonel and major who'd never seen fighting
Both told me that only a coward would flee.

Then I heard someone say they were shooting deserters
The first time in years I made myself wet
And I started to run to escape from the (S-guards)
If they hadn't shot at me I'd be running yet.

It's three months and more in the cellar they kept me
Tomorrow at dawn when I'm just turned eighteen
I'll have grown old enough to be made an example
An example (to make mere and men won't to leave)???

For the sake of example just as an example
That was the reason they gave to the boy
For the sake of example just as an example
To encourage the others his final employ.

inviata da Alessandro - 12/11/2008 - 12:58


Nota di Gareth tratta dal thread su Mudcat:

Historical note refers to the Great War of 1914/18.

Some 200 + British "Deserters" were officially shot after Court Martial for desertion. Some reprts suggest that rather more were shot out of hand. Those days "shell shock", "Battle fatigue" were not acepted as a medical diagnosis.

Redcaps were military police, in this context they were used to seal the front off and prevent desertion. Later they were actually stationed in the trenches to force the troops out if neccessary.

in that era, the age of School leaving in the UK was 14. You could sign on at sea at that age. In theory you could not go for a solidier untill you were 18 . Some recruiting Seargents were not over zealous on enforcing that age limit. Boys could join the Army at an earlier age, but they could not be sent overseas on active service untill they passed 18.

This gave the senario described here, a 17 year old who breaks under pressure, court martialed, sentanced to death, and shot as soon as he turns 18. Actually not as far fetched as it sounds. 16 and 17 year old deserters were shot "To encourage the Others".

Alessandro - 12/11/2008 - 13:00



Lingua: Italiano

Versione di Wolfgang corretta a partire dai suggerimenti ricevuti dai partecipanti al thread su Mudcat.
I was fourteen years old when I first started running
And for two years I lived on a seaman's poor wage
'Til I met with a sergeant who said I'd do better
So I joined up by adding two years to my age.

In the winter I found I was scared stiff of dying
Up to me knees in mud and in snow
And I knew then it wasn't just me who was lying
And I wish that I'd heard someone say: Don't you go.

So I ran and I crawled I swam and I stumbled
Away from the sound, the smells and the sights
And I got past the barbed wire, the redcaps and bullies
that be stationed behind us to help us to fight.

For six days and more I kept moving westward
Walking by night and hiding by day
'Til at last in the barn of a farmer I trusted
For the price of a shilling I was given away.

They took me away many miles from the frontline
And the court-martial's justice was promised to me
But the colonel and major who'd never seen fighting
Both told me that only a coward would flee.

Then I heard someone say they were shooting deserters
The first time in years I made myself wet
And I started to run to escape from the escorts
If they hadn't shot at me I'd be running yet.

It's three months and more in the cellar they kept me
Tomorrow at dawn when I'm just turned eighteen
I'll have grown old enough to be made an example
An example that ignorant men (won't) want to leave

For the sake of example just as an example
That was the reason they gave to the boy
For the sake of example just as an example
To encourage the others his final employ.

inviata da Alessandro - 12/11/2008 - 13:02



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