An old RAF poem I rediscovered

31 Aug

This Afternoon We Burned Our Files (author unknown)

With nods and becks and wreathed smiles,this afternoon we burned our files.

They told us we could only keep, what could be carried in a jeep,
but when we’ve got our bed rolls in, and packed the old chye swindle tin,
the space that’s left is far too small, to carry any files at all,
and so we took each file we’d got, and sacrificed the ruddy lot.

It is not often that a clerk, can leave his desk for such a lark,
but I for one would never tire, of casting files on the fire.

To stop the papers blowing round, we dug a deep hole in the ground,
and to be sure that they would catch, poured petrol on and struck a match.

What joy, what unimagined bliss, to hear the whole combustion hiss.
What other climax, what elation, can compare with this cremation?
The greatest moment of our lives ,the arson of admin’s archives.

See the stiff red covers wrinkle, watch the papers catch and crinkle.
Now they’ve vanished with the flames, and all their silly pompous names.

Reciepts and issues, Stocks at parks, Orders for the Duty Clerks,
Battle Orders and locations, Establishments at Delta Station.

Aircraft–Blenheims and Marauders, Middle East Accounting orders,
And last of all the fat extraneous, Correspondence Miscellaneous.
All gone and now we’ve got a box, To keep our underclothes and socks.

The filing system’s in the grave, and we no more can be its slave.
Nor will there ever be a stir, if signals come which cross-refer.
If we don’t know what they’re about, we’ll never book the blighters out.

And now, we thought, we all stand equal, but the story has a sequal,
for of course there came one day, a signal for the AOA,
and written right beside the date, was Ref, my T.Q 68.

The harrassed duty clerk said *?&? it, I’ve no files and I can’t flag it,
and unsuspecting took it in, the AOA turned black as sin and said
in mortfying style: ‘I want to see the ruddy file.’

From here of course the story’s plain, We’ve opened all our files again,
and no longer have we got a box, to keep our underclothes and socks.

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