Here's another middle-watch, another hair
upon m' chest,
There's just an hour or two 'til I can go and get some rest,
Morning, Dogs or Afternoon, the Forenoon or the First,
None of 'em comes easy but the Middle is the worst.
Keep your engine going round, your diesel going up and down,
Keep the old ship going homeward-bound.
How did I get into this when I was just a boy?
M' Mother wouldn't let me go, I was her pride and joy,
When she tried to stop me I just ran away to sea,
But Mothers always know best, now that's very plain to me.
I'd never heard of watchkeeping, I can't have been too
I thought that when the sun went down we'd anchor for the night,
My old 'sea-dad' put me right, he said: "We're one-in three.",
That's four hours 'on' and eight hours 'off' and working in-between.
At four o'clock next morning I was down below in Hell,
Scrubbing 'plates' and 'punching' sprayers, making tea as well,
After four long hours I was nearly fit-to-drop,
I'd an hour off for breakfast then I turned-to up on-top.
Then I heard in submarines there's extra money paid,
And only two hour watches so I though I'd got it made,
I quickly volunteered only to find I had been 'green',
That was two hours 'on' and four hours 'off' and working in between.
After twenty years you find there's not much left to learn,
But when it comes to watchkeeping you have to take your turn,
When your shaken just roll out and get yourself below,
'Cos your 'oppo's' waiting for relief so off-watch he can go.