He had so many nicknames, tucker fu&%er and bait layer
But when an army marches on its stomach, he is the major player
Our cook could serve up anything, boiled, baked or fried
Like the medic and the pay clerk you always kept him on side
When the CSM would charge you, on evidence unfounded
Epsom salts in his coffee, would keep him truly grounded
You only had to do it once and he soon got the drift
No one knew who did it, the result was always swift
If stray cats were a plague, he always knew
When it was time to rustle up, a hearty rabbit stew
There was always plenty of stock around and no one made a fuss
Even when a tuft of pelt, looked a little sus
Should unexpected troops arrived and leave him somewhat short
It didn’t seem to bother him, for this was his retort
“They say the good Lord Jesus, served five thousand souls and more
Some extra flour and water, will feed the whole corps.”
One day he looked like death warmed up, all that was missing was the wreath
When he had finished throwing up, he couldn’t find his teeth
We didn’t see them anywhere, no matter how hard we did forage
Then, they were located, in the boiler with the porridge
We were in the pub one Friday night and when Cookie appeared
He told us he’d won the seafood tray, but it had disappeared
It was discovered some days later, and it seemed so bizarre
His missus found it sitting on the back seat of her new car
Poor Cookie has long left us, to that cookhouse in the sky
He may not have worn a Michelin hat, but at least he had a try
Like so many of our company, he failed the final test
Some succumbed to their demons, Agent Orange took the rest
Generals receive the glory, for what their troops achieve
Aching hearts and memories, for loved ones left to grieve
A laugh is worth a thousand tears, as the years roll by
For they will never be erased, no matter how hard they try.
By Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
13 April 2021
Dedicated to my late father in law, Private Thomas Bateson Saunders NX104684
FILE PHOTO: Australian Army chefs and stewards prepare ‘hot-box’ meals in a field kitchen at Shoalwater Bay, Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Saber 2013. Photo by Corporal Jake Sims.
One thought on “THE COOK”
A few choice words were thrown at cooks throughout a miltary career.
Duty officer – ‘Who called the cook a #<nt ?'
Entire Mess: – 'Who called that
#<nt a COOK ?!!'
Somehow we thought it was all contrived for the duty officer's entertainment.
Another eposide: A soldier had sat down for lunch – when he something on his plate – and gagged !
Picking up his plate, he stormed up to the duty officer, and shoved it up at him.
"Excuse me, sir. WHAT IS THAT !!??"
THE OFFICER looked down – and responded: "It's a grub, lad.
IN VIETNAM, YANKS provided meals on some Ops, and we were amazed at how well the grunts were fed. We were told 'Eat as much as you like – but eat what you take'.
We were unused to this line of hungry Yanks and Aussies 'out in the field' – but as we moved down the line, with 2 dixies & a mug, we were met at the end of the line, after filling them – to be confronted with a large ice cream container – too late !
The 'cook' dumped ice cream onto already full dixies – right on top of a nice warm STEAK !!
As far as I recall, we never had a repeat of THAT. Probably because we would never join the Yanks again on Ops – due to their alien 'up the guts' tactics, to hell with casualties.
Such opposing tactics became a sore point between Aussie senior officers and even U.S. Generals – to the point where it was heatedly 'discussed' between Canberra and Washington.
For once, Canberra sided with 'the men on the ground' – and their PROFESSIONAL TACTICS – while a lot of U.S. grunts 'had some strange habits' that lacked any real professionalism, shall we say.
Later, a 'friendly' U.S. F.A.C. officer informed the Aussie senior BHQ officers – LAUGHING – that if any American officer had stood up to the generals the way THE AUSSIE OFFICERS had – they would have been COURT-MARTIALLED !!