The D Day Dodgers

With all the attention rightly paid to commemorating the biggest amphibious assault in history it is easy to forget that there were other events occurring around the world at the same time.

This was the feeling at the time as well and those who had fought long and hard in Italy ironically called themselves the “D Day Dodgers” allegedly after a remark by Lady Astor in Parliament.  They made light of their own amphibious landings at Salerno, the battles at Anzio and Monte Cassino, the many D Days that they endured. (D Day is a military term referring to the planned start date of any military operation,  it is only since the Normandy landings that it has become synonymous with the Allied invasion of Europe)

 

The Battle of Ortona

The Battle for Ortona

I  have included two versions of the song with video clips via YouTube and a third version of the lyrics below them. Please be aware that the first clip has words that the soldiers were likely to have sung and may offend some. The second is slightly bowdlerised.

We’re the D-Day Dodgers out in Italy –
Always on the vino, always on the spree.
Eighth Army scroungers and their tanks
We live in Rome – among the Yanks.
We are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy.

We landed at Salerno, a holiday with pay,
Jerry brought the band down to cheer us on our way
Showed us the sights and gave us tea,.
We all sang songs, the beer was free.
We are the D-Day Dodgers, way out in Italy.

The Volturno and Cassino were taken in our stride
We didn’t have to fight there. We just went for the ride.
Anzio and Sangro were all forlorn.
We did not do a thing from dusk to dawn.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy.

On our way to Florence we had a lovely time.
We ran a bus to Rimini right through the Gothic Line.
On to Bologna we did go.
Then we went bathing in the Po.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy.

Once we had a blue light that we were going home
Back to dear old Blighty, never more to roam.
Then somebody said in France you’ll fight.
We said never mind, we’ll just sit tight,
The windy D-Day Dodgers, out in Sunny Italy.

Now Lady Astor, get a load of this.
Don’t stand up on a platform and talk a load of p*ss.
You’re the nation’s sweetheart, the nation’s pride
We think your mouth’s too bloody wide.
We are the D-Day Dodgers, in Sunny Italy.

When you look ’round the mountains, through the mud and rain
You’ll find the crosses, some which bear no name.
Heartbreak, and toil and suffering gone
The boys beneath them slumber on
They were the D-Day Dodgers, who’ll stay in Italy.

So listen all you people, over land and foam
Even though we’ve parted, our hearts are close to home.
When we return we hope you’ll say
“You did your little bit, though far away
All of the D-Day Dodgers, way out there in Italy.”

The Commonwealth War Cemetery at Cassino, 4,266 soldiers are buried here

The Commonwealth War Cemetery at Cassino, 4,266 soldiers are buried here