The Breakdown

Chieftain Broken Down!


So it was that we donned the Tankie’s black overalls,
Looking smart and from the girls receiving whistles and cat calls,
And proudly on each shoulder we wore the Brunswick green flash,
Twas for love of the Tanks and chums….not for the pitiful cash!
For we lucky few joined the ‘Westcountry’s own’ the Third of track,
‘Armoured Farmers’ was our nickname and humour we didn’t lack,
True comradeship and trust from each other we won,
An’ scrumpy by the gallon we drank when the job was done!

In late ’76 forth from Fally to Blighty we did sally,
Then Alpha Squadron did in Warminster dally,
But Beer and Benylin aided them to prove,
To the Grunts that they – well, really could move.
Bumble and Charlie proved that in Tidworth they could motor,
Though MOD money was slashed like gutting a bloater,
Labour tried really hard to scupper our chances,
Us wishing for spares - QM Tech avoiding our glances.

While Command and Support in Swingfire and CVRT did roam,
Taking off their RayBans only at weekends and when at home,
The roar of their engines and the clouds of departing dust,
Clogging our throats at their passing and they we certainly cussed!
Oh, the heady days of the rolling Salisbury Plain,
Inevitable L60 breakdowns making it hard for us to stay sane,
The roar of the engine and smell of burnt derv,
Gave us as Tankies guts of steel and plenty of nerve.

But then it would come, a loud chug and a clank,
Followed by silence broken only by a cry of “This is f***** w***!”
As the engine’s lube system became rapidly external,
It seemed our frustration may well be eternal.
Into his mic our Sunray did openly scream,
For fitter assistance did he shout while venting a spleen,
In due course Tiffy and his team from afar would appear,
Laughing and shouting as they drew ever near.

On our decks they then slowly would climb,
And scratch their heads they would for a time,
Then after tests and whispers huddled in a ruck,
A verdict came forth, “It’s shagged and we don’t give a f***!”
Then off in their wagons they shortly sped,
Leaving our commander to do nought but scratch his head,
“For your new pack we’ll send the FRT” Tiffy had uttered,
Our response – “You W*nkers!” we muttered.

In due course our new engine we received,
As into our back decks the FRT it noisily heaved,
Then some time later into life it coughed and roared,
Our commander now, no longer looking peeved and bored.
He now looked at us and held out his cup,
“Lads - Genny and BV on and let’s brew the f*** up!”
And so it was that our breakdown into history did pass,
None of us for the Chieftain’s L60 giving a fat rat’s ass.

But, one thing for us all remained fixed and for sure,
And nothing could from our belief us cure,
The Black and Green of the Third RTR were Tankies pure,
And our great brotherhood’s fellowship would forever endure!

By Malcolm Cleverley