“Chips” sends in this poetic toast by Jody Baker (AKA Insp. Baynes, and who in turn gives thanks to Paul Hartnett (JHWS “Scout”)) to he without whom our dear Dr Watson would have perished before ever meeting Holmes.
On the Afghan side of a mountain pass
In the land that’s ruled from Kabul,
Our assistant regimental surgeon
Was a kid just fresh out of school.
He had spent some time at Netley, though;
And they’d taught him mighty well
How to patch up battered infantry troops
Who had fought their way through hell.
Now the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers
Were safe back in Candahar,
And he could’ve stayed back there with them,
If he’d wanted to sit out the war.
But he cast his lot with the Berkshires,
And he joined us in the fight
As we neared the village of Maiwand,
Troops deployed both left and right.
Then those murd’rous stinkin’ Ghazis
Soon filled the air with lead.
And when a slug hit the doctor’s leg,
My Gawd, — how that man bled.
Since I was the doctor’s orderly
I was fightin’ by his side;
And when he fell, I picked him up.
Lor’ — I thought the man had died.
So I slung him over my shoulder
And was headed toward the rear,
When another slug from a Ghazi gun
Brought an end to his career.
It split the spine of his scapula,
And it pierced his body too.
I knew he was hit, and I knew it was bad,
And I thought that he might be through.
So, I held him even closer
And kept on running to the back,
Where I grabbed the Company work-horse
And strapped the doctor to its pack.
We dressed the wounds. We stopped the blood.
And we did what we could do;
But the man was hurt – he was hurt real bad;
And he needed surgery, too.
So we sent him east to Candahar,
Where he joined with several more
To form a train, and then move
North to our base in Pesh’war.
In the base hospital in Pesh’war
Where they nursed him back to health,
They said that our treatment in the field
Saved the man from certain death.
Watson has praised me for my courage,
And for my devotion to the deed,
And for risks I took in saving the life
Of the man whose tales we read.
So pull your chairs up close to the hearth fire,
When it’s cold and the snows are a-flurry.
As you talk about Watson and marvel at Holmes,
Drink a toast to the soldier named Murray.