Have you still got your tin hat with you,
Old pal who has gone before ?
Do you still wear the dear old uniform
That I knew in the days of war ?
What's it like there across the border,
Now you've taken the long, long trail?
Do you wake to the call of reveille ?
And still hear retreat's last wail ?
Grand ! Grand ! was your smile at parting,
And the look in your fading eyes,
As you signed your transfer papers
To the Army beyond the skies.
I'd like to have seen your greeting
At the Heavenly Barrack gate,
When the Great White Chief, with His hand outstretched,
Said "Welcome!" and "Well done, mate!"
Old man-we miss you badly,
You were always a darned good sort,
And we gather together once a year
Just to think of you, old sport.
And we're wondering very sadly
If you're thinking of us that way,
As the clock booms out the eleventh hour
Of the eleventh month and day.
Goodbye ! old boy, I must leave you,
Things aren't too good down here ;
But ! we're playing the game as you did,
For the sake of your memory dear.
And, perchance, at the last reveille,
When the Great Chief calls His men,
I too shall be there beside you,
With my hand in yours again.
The author dedicated "The Eleventh Hour" to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions The London Regiment Royal Fusiliers, with whom he served during the Great War.
See his entry in our Historic Library: The ‘Eleventh Hour’ An armistice poem written and dedicated to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Royal London Fusiliers and used in broadcasts. By Herbert Graham Swaffield, London Regiment Second Lieutenant