Parade Rest (IV): March Music Interlude

My father’s 1943 army memoirs, continued.

One other occasion stands out in my memory of these early Army days – the four-mile forced march. The object of this little exercise was to march each platoon from HQ on a circuit tour of the area, a distance to total four miles, returning to HQ in less than 50 minutes.

After much grief with stragglers in the rear on other marches we had taken, Lt. Hiller had devised a plan to make us look as good as possible. He put all the cripples (including me, with a sprained ankle just healing) up front. This way the pace would not be too rapid for those in the rear. We set out; double time, quick time, double time, quick time. singing while at quick time. Lt. Hiller had told us weeks before that he expected us to sing dirty songs on the march, and if we didn’t know any he would teach us some. He didn’t need to, as one of ours came up with this:

[Editor’s note. I have taken the liberty of transcribing this song as my father sung it to me, rather than precisely as he wrote it down. – I assume Charley was Lieutenant Hiller’s use-name, which probably went down better than Floyd in the Army world. It went to the tune of the infamous “Infantry song,” and I always used to imagine it accompanied by an oom-pah brass band. Words in all caps are to be shouted.]

We’re Charley Hiller’s Raiders,
The rapers of the night,
We’re dirty sons of bitches
Who would rather fuck than fight.
OHHHH,
Hidey, didey, Christ Almighty,
Who the hell are we?
Jim, jam, GOD! DAMN!
We’re the infantry. SHIT!

to be continued…

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