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D - Day Dodgers of Italy

by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

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Contributed by 
Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper
People in story: 
Tom Canning
Location of story: 
Italy 1944
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
15 August 2003

There have many mis-conceptions as to the origins of the story of the slur on 8th Army(Desert Rats) and the fighting in Italy, suffice to say that it is generally believed that it originated with Lady Astor M.P. who was known to say many things she invariably regretted. For example she chided Mr Churchill for being drunk, to which he countered that she was ugly, but he would be sober in the morning ! Another example was during a contretemps with the great man she stated that if he were her husband she would give him poison, he replied that if he were her husband .. he would drink it !

Many fallacies are spread as to origins of most things but the fact is that the 8th Army were more than displeased to be referred to as D-Day Dodgers as they had since 1942, had quite enough D-Day to last a lifetime with El Alamein - Tripoli - Mareth - Tunis - Sicily - Calabria, not counting Algiers - Salerno - Anzio then the slog through the mountains of Italy. The only way to ignore this slur was to laugh and so the song was composed by .....who knows... but it was sung to the 8th Army's favourite song " Lilli Marlene" the haunting German song of the lonely prostitute waiting by the Barracks gate.

It went like this : --

We are the D - Day Dodgers, out in Italy,
Always on the vino,always on the spree,
Eighth Army skivers and their Tanks,
We go to war,in ties and slacks,
We are the D-Day Dodgers,in sunny Italy.

We fought into Agira,a holiday with pay,
Jerry brought his bands out to cheer us on our way,
Showed us the sights and gave us tea,
We all sang songs, the beer was free,
We are the D-Day Dodgers, in sunny Italy.

The Moro and Ortona were taken in our stride,
We didn't really fight there ,we went there for the ride,
Sleeping 'til noon and playing games,
We live in Rome with lots of dames,
We are the D-Day Dodgers,in sunny Italy.

On our way to Florence, we had a lovely time,
We drove a bus from Rimini,right through the Gothic Line,
Then to Bologna we did go,
We all went swimming in the Po,
We are the D-Day Dodgers,in sunny Italy.

We hear the boys in France are going home on leave,
After six months service,such a shame they're not relieved.
We were told to carry on a few more years,
Because our wives don't shed no tears,
We are the D-Day Dodgers, in sunny Italy.

We are the D-Day Dodgers,way out in Italy.
We're always tight, we cannot fight.
What bloody use are we ?

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