The Sapper 

The Army has many trades and it seemed part of the plot

When I joined the Engineers, I sometimes scored the lot

If variety is the spice of life, this is the Corps for you

You have to be so versatile, there’s nothing you can’t do


I’m the first to tread on hostile ground, as our troops advance

Up to the very gates of hell, where it’s all a game of chance

During each campaign, it seemed hard to believe

Though I was always the first one in, I was usually the last to leave


The days were hot or freezing and the hours were long

Building bridges digging ditches, like in that Irish song

And even after sunset, other tasks I must endure

I’m out there after midnight, checking our lines are still secure


I’ve sometimes lost my temper and called upon God’s wrath

Carrying a dying child, in a bloody aftermath

My only consolation, when I go out to roam

Is knowing that my family, is safe and sound at home


It’s neither guts nor glory, when your lying on the ground

Making safe a mine or I.E.D. with no one else around

Sometimes it makes better sense, to trade my bayonet for a pen

Knowing that tomorrow, I’ll have to do it all again


Even when I return, I know I’m not the same

A simple clap of thunder, sends me back again

I’ve seen mankind at it’s worst, while serving over there

The panics and the nightmares, are things I cannot share


My job is not for everyone, some details I won’t tell

Many lives depend on me, so I have to do it well

My uniform is soiled and stained and I may not look so dapper

I’m a combat engineer, who’s proud to be a sapper


By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
20 July 2019


FILE PHOTO (July 2020): Sapper Lewis Coulter sweeps for mines during the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment Commanding Officers’ Challenge held at Robertson Barracks, Northern Territory. Photo by Private Rodrigo Villablanca.





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