So they signed a bloody armistice
And the soldiers all came home again
Those which were still alive.
Our army was in tatters
Reduced to very few
And the P.M. called the cabinet
To see what they should do.
Discussions seemed quite endless
And then somebody thought
What about conscription ?
Maybe that would hold the fort.
They called it National Service
Where every able guy
Would be called up to serve the King
On land or sea or sky.
But the national exchequer
Was in a parlous state
There was no way the state could give
These lads a proper rate.
Eventually it was agreed
The government would pay
Each serving man a pittance
Of just four bob a day.
That this was abject slavery
There really was no doubt
But we were under orders
And didn’t have a shout.
Some were posted off to Germany
The new B.A.O.R.
We were “On Active Service”
With the Russians not too far.
We thought we were invincible
Like the fighting men of yore
But we were no match for Stalin’s boys
If they’d warmed up that cold war.
In time our forces were rebuilt
With dedicated men
The “National Service” act repealed
Throughout some seven decades
They said they’d strike a medal
But each time someone brought it up
The foot slipped off the pedal.
So all we have are memories
Of the time we had to serve
Two years with the colours
And three-T.A. reserve.