Works in the Herald 1937

The Australian Coronation Contingent are to mount guard at Buckingham Palace for twenty-four hours on May 10.

Bill -- "Our boy, Bill" --
Is in the picture still.
One of the Coronation Bush Contingent
In London now, with feathers in his hat,
Smart, too, at that.
Writes Bill. "The discipline? My word!
Strictest you ever heard.
An' the drill,"
Says Bill.
"Snap to it! One-two-three.
Stiff as a ramrod. 'Shun!
None o' yer easy an' free.
Blimey! It isn't done."

Bill's written home to say
They've been given a day
Mounting guard
In the King's palace yard.
"Pretty big honor, that,"
Says Bill, in his casual way
With the feathers in his hat.
"Guardin' the Royal mat,
Ready to give alarm
Lest the King should come to harm.
Me, from the ole bush farm,
With me back to the sentry-box
Gotter pull up yer socks,
I tell yeh. They been doin' stunts like these
Right down an' down thro' the long centuries.
An' now, me there
For all the crowd to stare.
For the whole of London to see.
Think of it. Me!"

Bit of a hard case, Bill,
From the sheeplands back of One Tree Hill.
He'd been knockin' round the bush and the track
Ever since he came back
With the Diggers from where he'd been
Up to nineteen-eighteen.
Then he got the chance to go
Again to this Coronation show.
And, are they proud and glad?
Old Mum and tough old Dad
And the rest of the push
Back there in the Bush.
"Our Bill!"
Stuck there, silent an' still,
Guardin' the King's great place
With never a smile on his face.
Bit of an honor, all right.
Hope that he does it bright.
Mum says, "But I know he will.
He's Bill."

When Bill comes home again
To the farm and the sheep and the plough
He will endeavour to explain;
And then he'll show them how
Out in the old home yard
Dad, with a spade,
He will be made
The Corporal of the Guard;
The sentry-box, the old burnt stump
Close by the pump,
With the sliprails for the Palace gates,
Where the old guard waits
Then Mum
And the girls will come
And laugh and say: "My, Dad, you do look funny!
You couldn't guard the King for love or money."
Then Bill shouts: "'Shun!
Slope arms! Quick march! See? That's how it's done.
Crickey!" says Bill.
"The sun is near behind the hill;
An' miles of fencin' left to do tomorra.
Life's mostly toil and sorra."
And then he smiles and says, "Work must be done.
Why should I get the pip?
I've had the trip.
Lord, yes; more than me share o' fun.
Hey, Dad! Relax! The king is not in this??

Herald, 10 May 1937, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2011