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Date: 18 March 1915

Transcript:

MEIN KAISER'S IRON CROSS

As I was walking 'long the shore,
A-going of my round—
The journey I do every day—
An envelope I found.
I picked it up; it was addressed
"Der Kaiser," and I said,
I'll see what's in it; opened it,
And this is what I read:

"I sank three sailing barques last week
A neutral ship or two,
And, dis vill please your Majesty,
I never saved a crew.
In every case I let them drown,
And never felt remorse,
My one concern was how earn
Your prize—de Iron Cross.I

[cartoon showing Jack reading the letter]
'Twas to the Kaiser!

"We spied dose sailing ships at dawn,
And I vas glad to see
Dey vasn't steamships, or dey might
Have rammed me easily.
Of course, I knew dat sailing ships
Could not put up a fight,
So, knowing I vas safe, I just
Torpedoed dem at sight.

"Dere vas some vomen on der ships,
And, sire, I also see
Some little children; and I rubbed
My hands in ecstasy.
Did mein heart soften at der sight?
Did I not feel remorse
At murd'ring babies? Nein, I vished
To earn der Iron Cross!

[cartoon showing a German submarine captain]
"I never save the crew."

"And so I let dose babies drown.
But saw von skipper try
To save his vife and leetle child
Dat vill not do, says I.
Dat vas against der Kaiser's law,
And so I simply got
Mein pistol, and, tho' struggling there
For life, I shot the lot!

"A glorious deed? I tink it vas.
'Twill let the wide world know
Dat Germany's at war, and dat
We never mercy show.
You, Kaiser, sent the order out,
So it was no disgrace;
But, all ze same, sometimes at night
I see dat baby's face

[cartoon showing a German submarine captain shoot drowning people]
Earning the Iron Cross.

"A wireless message den I send
To see if you'd endorse
Mein action and I got your vire,
'You've earned ze Iron Cross.
Come home for it, 'tis men like you
I'm always proud to see.
How many babies did you say?
Dat's vat's concerning me.'

I vas a proud, proud man dat day,
And quickly changed my course
For Wilhelmshaven, dere to get
Mein Kaiser's Iron Cross,
Ze highest honour given to
A hero—dat vas me.
Vere vill you find men of my kindt
Vere, but in Germany!

[cartoon showing a German submarine captain frowning]
"I see dat baby's face!"

"Ze German Navy's shown ze vorld,
And made ze nations feel
Her power, her might; altho' our ships
Prefer to stay at Kiel.
Hoch Himmel! here's an Engleesh ship
In sight, and giving chase!
Mein Gott !we're rammed, and drowning, and
I see—dat—baby's face!"

****

There was some more, but it was blurred;
The pirate had been sent,
With one swift blow, down to his doom.
And as I homeward went
I wondered how I would have felt
Had I been in his place,
A murderer, drowning, haunted by
A little baby's face!


Source:
McMann, W. 'Jack's Yarns: "Mein Kaiser's Iron Cross".' The Brecon County Times. 18 Mar. 1915. 7.

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