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by Stanley Holloway [1890-1982]
Have you heard how young Albert Ramsbottom
Was evacuated from home
With his mother, clean socks and a toothbrush
Some syrup of figs and a comb.
The stick with the ‘orses ‘ead ‘andle
They decided that they’d leave behind
To keep safe with the things they weren’t wanting
Like their gas masks and things of that kind.
Pa saw them off at the station
And shed a few crocodile tears
As he waved them goodbye from the platform,
‘Twas the best break he’d had in ten years.
Ma got corner seat for young Albert
Who amused all the rest of the team
By breathing hot breaths on the window
And writing some swear words in steam.
They arrived at last somewhere in England
And straight to their billet were shown
There was one room for mother
But Albert was in a small room of his own.
The very first night in the blackout
Young Albert performed quite a feat
By hanging head first from the window
And shining his torch down the street.
It flashed on an A.R.P. warden
Patrolling with leisurely gait;
“Good Heavens,” he said, “it’s Tarzan,
I’d better go investigate.”
So reading his book of instructions
To make himself doubly sure
Then in an official manner
Proceeded to knock on the door.
It was opened by Mrs Ramsbottom
“Now then,” said she, “what’s to do.”
And in stern air-warden manner, he said
“I’m going to interrogate you.”
This fair upset Mrs. Ramsbottom
Her face was a picture to see
“I’ll have you know, you’ll do nowt of the sort,
I’m a respectable woman.” said she.
“Has your son been evacuated?”
Said the A.R.P. man at the door
“He’d all them things done as a baby,” said mother
“He’s not being done anymore.”
“Be off now,” said Mrs. Ramsbottom
As she bustled him out of the porch
And the A.R.P. man patted Albert
And then confiscated his torch.
Now that were unlucky for Albert
He had no torch to see him to bed
But being a bright little fellow
He switched on the hall light instead.
“Put out that light,” a voice shouted
“Where’s the men of our A.R.P.?”
“I’ve told them already” the warden replied
“They take no bloody notice of me.”
Soon, Mrs. Ramsbottom and Albert
Were feeling quite homesick and sad;
So they thanked the landlady most kindly
And prepared to go back home to Dad.
When at last they reached home to Father
They were fed up and had quite enough;
But in the front parlour they found six young women
And Father were doing his stuff.
“Hello Mother,” said Mr. Ramsbottom
“Come right on in, don’t be afraid,
When you went away I joined Ambulance Corps
I’m instructing the girls in first aid.”
“First aid?,” said Mrs. Ramsbottom
With a horrible look on her brow.
“If ever you wanted first aid in your life,
By gum, you’ll be wanting it now.”
At the outbreak of the Second World War, a massive civilian evacuation programme in the UK was set in motion to transport children out of the cities to the safety of the countryside.