Date: 20 May 1915


By W. McMann.


The other afternoon I thought
I'd put another coat
O' tar upon the shed in which
I house my motor-boat.
I'd meant to do it every day
For quite a long time past,
But this 'ere day I got the tar,
And starts the job at last.

It was a lovely afternoon,
With not a cloud o'erhead,
When, with my bucket full o' tar,
I goes down to the shed,
Rolls up my sleeves and gets to work—
The job ain't overclean,
But those who've tarred a ship'll know
Exactly what I mean.

[cartoon of a British sailor with a bucket of tar and broom]
Off to tar the shea.

I'd worked away about an hour,
When, stopping for a smoke,
I notices approaching me
A much-excited bloke.
The perspiration stood in beads
Upon his purple face;
He looked for all the world as if
He'd finished some big race.

Straight up to me ho rushed and gasped—
(The man could hardly speak).
"I am a British subject, yah,
And your protection seek.
Der sailors in der veelage shout
And shake der fists at me,
And tell me I vas better go
'Vay back to Ghermany!"

[cartoon of the old man]
A much-excited bloke.

He wiped the sweat from off his brow:
"And I vas come to you
To make dose sailors, recognise
Zat I vas Breetish too.
I vant you go and tell dem straight,
I naturalise two year,
And vas as goot a Breetisher
As any of you here."

"Hold hard, old cock," I says to him,
And lays my tarry hand
Upon his shoulder; "you forget
This is their native land,
While you, altho' you've 'naturalised,'
Are still a German—see!
And if I had my way you'd all
Be under lock and key."

[cartoon of the sailor threatening the old man]
"Hold yer tongue."

Now, you hold hard"—for he'd begun
To talk excitedly
About "mein rights"—"you hold yer tongue,
And listen now to me.
There's many a fisher sailed from here
We'll never see again,
And many a tiny toddlin' tot
Cries for its dad in vain.

"Now, hold yer tongue, I ain't done, yet"—
And there I gripped him tight.
"The brutes that did it didn't give
Our lads a chance to fight!
Sent a torpedo through their craft,
Laughed at them as they drowned!
And yet ye talk about 'your rights!'
Ye creeping, cringing hound!

[cartoon of the old man falling into the bucket of tar]
Sat down right in the tar.

"Your rights!" I roared, and threw him off.
He gasped and staggered back.
"I'll haf ze law," he cries; and then,
As sure's my name is Jack,
He caught his heel against a rock—
I nearly took a fit!
For, as my tar was just behind,
He sat right into it!

"Ye've gow an' dJone it now! I says.
"Ye've got yer 'rights,' old man,
And if ye don't want any more
Sheer off as fast's ye can.
He staggered up; then, with my brush,
I helped him make a start!
Black? Black as sin; but white compared
With the Berlin Butcher's heart.

McMann, W. 'Jack's Yarns: "I Vas Breetish too".' The Brecon County Times. 20 May 1915. 7.

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