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Sam Drummed Out

by R P Weston and Bert Lee (1935)
Illustration by Bill Tidy

Sam Drummed Out

The colonel's daughter refers to the Band of Hope, a popular mid-19th century temperance association, which helped to ween child labourers from alcohol. The organisation still exists today (see www.hopeuk.org), helping children to stay away from contemporary drugs, as well as alcohol.

Like many similar organisations, Hope UK depends on volunteers. And such volunteers are richly rewarded when they see the results of their work. And if a volunteer tires of the work, they simply move on to some other worthy cause.

Such arrangements are win-win situations for everyone: The association benefits from the volunteer's work, the volunteer benefits from the knowledge their contribution is worthwhile, and the aid recipient benefits through improved quality of life.

In stark contrast, there are other organisations that are less well balanced. Pyramid MLM schemes and religious cults are obvious examples. When the participant decides they wish to move on, they suddenly find the exit door is jammed shut. They have become too useful for the organisation to let go. And if they do manage to escape, they are shunned by the organisation and made to feel worthless failures.

And that is precisely how Sam felt.

When a lad's been drummed out or the Army,
He's an outcast despised by all men;
I'd rather be shot at dawn any old time
'Cause I never get up before ten.

Once I was drummed out, tho' today I'm a hero
With all that a soldier could wish.
Ay, once poor old Sam stood before a Court Martial
With head bowed in shame and anguish.

And the old Colonel said, when he 'eard the charge read,
"It's a terrible crime, Sam," said he,
And the whisper went round "Has old Sam
Been a traitor to his King and his country?"

Nay, nay, I was charged with a crime worse than that,
Far more dastardly wicked and mean.
I were charged with maliciously putting cold water
In beer in the Sergeant's canteen.

And the Colonel's voice shook and he swallowed a lump
And he said "Nay, nay, come, come, ee dear, dear,
Good beer is the lifeblood of our glorious army
Our battles was all won on beer."

"What have you got to say to this terrible charge?"
I said "Nowt."
He said "Nowt?"
I said "Nowt."

He said "Can't you say owt but nowt?"
I said "No, nowt."
"Well," he said, "Sam,
Then you'll be drummed out."

Next morning the company lined on parade
I stood at attention quite stiff;
Then the Sergeant stepped forward and knocked off my pillbox
And worse - he untidied me quiff.

Then he pulled out his sword and cut off me coat buttons
Them buttons fell 'clink' on the floor;
But when he began on me trousers I said,
"Don't lower me prestige any more."

Side drum

Then he pulled off me medals, me twenty-five medals
I'd won out in different parts.
But I said to him "Oi, give me two of them back,
'Cause I won them there two playing darts."

Then the drums and the pipes played the Rogues March
And the Colonel he sobbed and said "Sam,
You're no longer a Soldier, I'm sorry to say
Sam, Sam, you're a dirty old man."

And soon I was outside the old barrack gates
With the tears rolling all down me face;
Then up rode the Colonel's young daughter, God bless her,
The pride of the Regiment, our Grace.

She said "What's to do, Sam?"
I said "What's to do? I'm drummed out lass for watering beer."
Then she fell off her 'orse, threw her arms round me neck
And said "Sam, you poor innocent dear."

Then she rushed to her father, the Colonel, and said,
"Say, papa, I'll hand you the dope.
Poor Sam here is innocent, I did the deed
I was told to by my Band of Hope."

Then the Colonel said "Corporal Sam, please come back."
I said "Nay, nay, I've just been drummed out."
Then the Colonel said "Sergeant Sam, Sergeant Sam, please.
I just shrugged and said "Nowt doing, nowt."

He said "Lieutenant Sam, come forgive and forget."
But I stamped and said "Nay, nay begone."
Then he said "Captain Sam."
I said "Captain, tut tut, make it Major and then I'll clock on."

And that's how I won me Commission, me lads,
A commission I think I well earned -
Ten per cent on the beer, ten per cent on the stout
And the pennies on bottles returned.

And the Regiment gave me a tankard inscribed with these words
Which I'm proud of, I am
"Presented by First Lancashire Fuisilliers
To their champion liar, old Sam."

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