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Cromarty Mudlarks

In December 1914, Private James Livesey of the 3rd Seaforths – the ‘Dirty Third’ – wrote the comic verses of ‘The Cromarty Mudlarks’.


The call us the Cromarty Mudlarks, the 9th in the blooming Fort    [Fort George]
Wouldn’t let us in beside ’em, for they’re of a different sort.
So we stayed outside on the common, in a hut and an iron shed,
Glad of a good roof o’er us, glad of a good dry bed.

Yes, we’re the Cromarty Mudlarks, we are the ‘Dirty Third’,
Why should we get this nickname? Mebbe you’ve never heard –,
The 9th, they stay in the barracks, and drill in the barracks Square,
They’ve fires, and brushes, and polish, and such like luxuries there.

But what of the Cromarty Mudlarks? What shall we say for these?
Covered with mud to the boot-tops, mud almost up to the knees;
Living for months under canvas, while the rain comes again and again,
And the whole of the camp is a quagmire, and never a ditch nor a drain.

Each night every soldier wonders if the tent pegs will hold it fast
Or whether the tent will go sailing, torn by the stormy blast. 
Each night every one of us wonders, as the rain comes trickling through
What if the tent went off and left us, what we would then have to do?

But with morn comes a lull in the weather, and we hear the ‘Fall In’ for parade,
And we’re out once again in the quagmire the rain and the tramping have made.
Then off we go for a route march. Sing as we march along
For what is the use of grousing? Better a cheer and song.

What if we’re caught in a rain storm, with still three miles to go?
We only change the chorus ‘While the Stormy Winds Do Blow’.
No fire to dry OUR things by, they have to dry on our backs,
No polish for OUR boots, boys, they’ll never more be black.

And that’s our side of the story. Mebbe you’ve never heard
Why we’re the CROMARTY MUDLARKS, why we’re the DIRTY THIRD.

They called us the Cromarty Mudlarks, the 9th in the blooming Fort
Wouldn’t let us in beside ’em, for they’re of a different sort,
But when we get to the Front, boys, mebbe we’ll lead the way,
And show that the Cromarty Mudlarks are just as good as they.