I never knew what my grandfather knew
(Touching wood, I hope I don’t learn)
Of nightly alarms when deep underground
Digging tunnels under the Hun.
Mines, they were called, dug deep and cold
And miners were the men that dug ‘em
From Wales they came, their job was the same
As that which they’d done in the valleys.
My grandad had been a good Engineer
Building railways and bridges and such
But when war broke out he answered the call
To soldier for his King and Country.
Sometimes they could hear the Hun digging, too
And sometimes they’d intersect tunnels,
A fight would ensure ‘twixt combatants who
In their fear would offer no quarter.
The military cross was quite a surprise
He thought that the miners had earned it,
He accepted it on behalf of his men,
Then was moved to a different climate.
Mesopotamia, the place was called,
The cradle of Civilisation:
Here he built bridges, then blew them up
As our army advanced and retreated.
In France he had laboured deep underground
The sky was quite rarely seen,
The tunnels they made were lantern-lit
Their weapons were shovels and picks.
In the desert things were the exact opposite
The sky was a furnace all day,
Shade was a treasure actively sought
Water, the most precious thing.