Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey writes a humorous poem making fun of all his pre-war work mates.




Temporal Coverage



Seven page handwritten letter


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1384535 A.C.2. Lamprey.
Signals Section.
H.Q. 14 Group. RAF.

Thursday. 9th [underlined] Oct. [/underlined]

Dear Bill.

Last night as I lay dreaming
In my cosy little bed.
A word procession formed itself,
And drifted through my head.
I saw again, the friends I knew
In days, so long remote,
When work was done at 5’oclock [sic]
And change – a ten bob note.
No martial band was mustered there
No even ranks they took.
But passed along, as they were down
In “Rusty” Harbours book.
First there came, as well we might
Our old friend of the chair
Harry Ashton, still the same
His “order” filled the air.


[page break]


Then Alfie Barnes – I see him still
Much older – wiser – sadder
And carrying upon his back
His little five rung ladder
Then Harry Beacham – looking round
The walk’s not his taste
He’d rather ride – he always would
He finds no cause for haste.
Mussolini? – surely not
Not in this grand parade
It must be Tommy Caldwell with
His hair all disarrayed.
Bill Collins now – he knows this game
I see it in his face
If he thinks he can better me
I’ll let him take my place.
This mighty girth – this cloud of fog
This stench of scorching tripe
Why bless my soul and all above
Its [sic] Coleman with his pipe.
“If I was you” – I know that voice
I’ve heard it times to [sic] many
And round the bend, as sure as eggs
Comes my old pal – Jack Denny.

[page break]

[underlined] 3. [/underlined]

Then “Uncle Bill” – still scrounging round,
No fuss – no row – no noise,
But hung around – from head to foot,
With parcels for the boys.
And Arthur Gilbert, as of old
Must stop to have his say
He reckons – and can prove it too
The routes the other way.
That brilliant head means Harbour D.
Those flaming auburn locks
I’d know him still – for in his arms
He hugs his old tin box.
Then Brother George – he’s silent now
That’s mighty strange I’m told
The reason is – the passing years
His hands must feel the cold
No meek voice this – no whisp’ring [sic] tone
No mild accents here faltered
But Honey. J. his mind made up
Is getting something altered.
And Brother Fred - his granite jaw
Was set as he displayed
Upon a pole – a banner with
The virtues of first-aid.


[underlined] 4 [/underlined].

Then Eddie Hunt – now walking past
Now trotting at the double
Is looking round and trying hard
To dodge his usual trouble
The next in line was Hutchings – J.
Crestfallen – ill at ease
For in a fit of temper, he,
Had broken his trapeze.
What’s this – a gap – a break – I hear
No sound of plodding feet
Lay back and sleep – theres [sic] nothing but
A blank for poor old Pete.
A rolling walk – a tubby form
Mad Irishmen they say
Need lots of room – so theres [sic]a break
Moloney Dennis J.
Now “Dusty” Miller heaves in sight
His hair all quifs [sic] and curls
And eyes stuck out like door-knobs
He’s looking round for girls.
One man I missed – but now at last
I see the explanation
As Harry Rumbold – Dave and Co
Are still a corporation

[page break]

[underlined] 5 [/underlined].

Another combination
All loaded up with smiles
As Charlie and the ginger cat
Come down from off the tiles.
Then comes a splash of uniform
To see sideways is hard
Why Archie Slipper – so it is
The fearless – fit Home Guard.
And Spalding Bill – still much the same
His bag – his books – his way
Of dodging in and out the ranks
Collecting H.S.A.
Here comes the film fan – Reggie Smith
Rations – he should trouble
A bit more hair and medals
He’d be “Fatty Goerings” double.
Next Harry Straw – with covered truck
All loaded – so I’m told
With bags and bags and bags and bags
And bags and bags of gold.
Then Mr. Harry Staples
His fiddle in his hand
Was out of turn – through looking round
To try and find the band.


[page break]

[underlined] 6 [/underlined]

While Cocky Warren – just behind
Still riding his old bike
Was offering to race ahead
And find it if he’d like.
They passed in ones – in two’s [sic] – in threes
Those chapel members all
And at the rear – just whipping in
As usual – Bertie Wall.
Another pair – and then the end
Bill Thornhill and George Francis
And in Bills’ [sic] hands – the night work book
Still shut – still closed – no chances.
And so the column moved away
When nearly out of sight
The Guv’nor passed by in his car
Still driving on his right
And as he passed I heard him say
“They’ve had their bit of fun –
Just stick the plates on lads – that’s all
Lets [sic] get it on the run”
And so the column drifted on
With time enough to spare
And left me thinking – have I missed
A face or figure there

[page break]

[underlined] 4 [/underlined].

And idly dreaming on these things
A voice – in broadest Scotch
Said – out you get – its [sic] duty now
Your [sic] on the midnight watch.
So if this effort doesn’t please
I’ll feel a bit rebuffed
But send you back a single phrase
Don’t like it? Well
“Get stuffed”

Give my love to everybody

Best of luck

P.S. Thank everybody for their letters they’re going to write. Tell Moloney – Charlie can write he can just put a cross.

[underlined] P. [/underlined].



Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 13, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6604.

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