National Poetry Day – Alfy

Æthelberht, Going Postal
Infantrymen of the 1/7th Battalion, Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) and a Stuart tank in Grazzanise, Italy, 12 October 1943

In loving memory of my pal Pte Alfred Hudson 6085105 of the 2nd Bn., The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) killed in action Syria 10th July 1941. Age 27.

Alfy was a Cockney
He came from London Town
And such a pal I’d never had
Just a happy clown

I met him many years ago
When we first drew up our gun
An up until the day he died
Alfy’s name spelt fun

We served in many stations
And lands across the sea
And Alfy’s golden friendship
Was everything to me

And so the years went by
Until we came to part
An though it may sound silly
It nearly broke my heart

But we hadn’t parted long before
A telegram with punch
Said report to your base depot
And it was stamped AT ONCE

So off to my base depot
I went by express train
And to my great amazement
I met Alfy once again

From there we went to Egypt
To western desert sand
But with all its horrors
With Alfy it was grand

Then when we’d finished Itie
And had him properly beat
We went to Alex Harbour
And was shipped right off to Crete

Alfy and I were lucky
For Jerry let it rip
It was not so pleasant
He set fire to our ship

So back to Alex Harbour
Back to our old trench
And soon were off to Syria
To fight the blinking French

This was our last action
At the time we didn’t know
For Frenchy was a soldier
And put up a great show

I remember it quite clearly
We were feeling in the pink
The only thing that worried us
Was there was nowt to drink

So they called for volunteers
For water must be found
But this was not so easy
For Frenchy had pinned us down

To put your head outside the trench
Was a dangerous thing
For Frenchy watched up closely
And let machine guns ring

We all looked at each other
Then Alfy spoke his fate
“I’ll go for the water”
And I said “and his mate”

So we crept out quiet and slowly
Thinking of the worst
When from the guns of Frenchy
Came a terrific burst

Alfy fell so swiftly
Blood pouring from his head
I bent to speak to Alfy
By my old pal was dead

I felt so sick and bitter
The sight was very sad
The feeling in me burned my heart
As if I’d lost my dad

Alfy’s death was soon known
‘Twas a teriffic blow to all
And we remembered the old saying
The best are first to fall

But Alf you’re never dead to me
While life is noble and true
And I know the hardest thing will be
To find another pal like you


John Malster, Pte 2nd Bn., The Queen’s Royal Regiment

You can read more about the 2nd Bn., The Queen’s Royal Regiment and their hard fought battle with the Vichy French forces in Syria on the regiment’s website here.

© Æthelberht 2017