BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

The Charge of the "AT" Brigade

by Joan Quibell

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Poetry

Contributed by 
Joan Quibell
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
29 April 2005

Gas training consisted of entering a large sealed "van" which contained CS gas. We did physical exercise with our respirators on, then were required to remove them for a few seconds, before the doors were opened.

On Friday afternoon last week,
A squad of "Ats" assembled
With faces looking rather bleak
Towards their doom they rambled.

With respirators khaki green,
Cosmetics, knives, forks, spoons unseen,
With helmets perched at back of head,
The girls to the forefront led.

"Left, right, left" yelled a lound strong voice
Which on other days made us rejoice,
"Down with the groans and less of the noise,
And try to remember your Army poise."

In the field the pathway ended,
Through blades of grass the squad marched splendid.
Then from the ranks, a poor girl staggered
Which shook the Sgt. Major haggard.

Into the bowels of mother earth,
She vanished and with hoots of mirth,
The serried ranks broke up and pondered
Two pairs of shoes that skywards wandered.

She's made of good stuff cos she came up smiling
Her head held high, her eyes beguiling,
As quick as a wink she had us in hand,
And quelled the mirth of the little AT band.

The band was split up into squads one and two
And all were prepared for the "Gas How d'ya do"
Up came Captain Berry all set to begin
Saying "Hurry up girls, it's time you were in."

Into the "chamber" we went, one, two, three,
"Please mind the step" said the Captain with glee,
Then with precision, he bolted the door,
Alas our escape existed no more.

But not content with all this palaver,
His flock in a ring he proceeded to gather,
He stood in our midst saying "Just you watch me"
And hence he proceeded to dish out PT.

When thoroughly exhausted and quite out of breath
It was "Down with your respirators and fear not the death".
And then like a Nelson he opened the door,
And in came the fresh air, prevailing once more.

Now, this is the end of this little rhyme,
The moral is "Everything ends well in time"
We'd done our gas training and survived it in style
Perhaps they'll now leave us in peace for a while.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Poetry Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy