The Last Shanty


by Tom Lewis

M' father often told me, when I was just a lad,
A sailor's life was very hard, the food was always bad,
But now I've joined the navy, I'm on board a man-o-war,
And now I find a sailor ain't a sailor any more!

Don't haul on the rope, don't climb up the mast,
If you see a sailing-ship it might be your last,
Get your civvies ready for another run ashore,
A sailor ain't a sailor ain't a sailor any more!

The 'killick' of our mess, he says we've had it soft,
It wasn't like this in his day, when he was up aloft,
We like our bunks and sleeping bags but what's a hammock for?
Swinging from the deckhead or lying on the floor?

They gave us an engine that first went up and down,
Then with more technology the engine went around,
We're good with steam and diesel but what's a mainyard for?
A stoker ain't a stoker with a shovel any more!

They gave us an Aldis Lamp, we can do it right,
They gave us a radio, we signal day and night,
We know our codes and ciphers but what's a 'sema' for?
A 'bunting-tosser' doesn't toss the bunting any more!

They gave us a radar set to pierce the fog and gloom,
So now the lookout's sitting in a tiny darkened room,
Loran does navigation the Sonar says how deep,
The Jimmy's 3 sheets to the wind, the Skipper's fast asleep.

Two cans of beer a day, that's your bleeding lot!
But now we gets an extra one because they stopped The Tot,
So, we'll put on our civvy-clothes and find a pub ashore,
A sailor's still a sailor, just like he was before!


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