One of the best known overseas songs which was a development of a parody by Lt. J.C. Whittaker RFC in 1916 on much the same theme. RAF Station Shaibah, Iraq was established in the 1920’s on the Persian Gulf, in the Shatt-el-Arab, or delta of the Tigris and Euphrates. ‘Those Shaibah Blues’ is an expression that came to be synonymous with home-sickness among airmen.

I, myself, was in the Canal Zone in 1951/2 (Spinney Wood which was the transmitter station for the Communications Centre at Ismailia) and frequently sang it with others during ‘Happy Hours’.

The verse is sung to the tune of “A Little Bit of Heaven” but the chorus is an original dirge.

A little piece of mhutti fell from out the sky one day,
It fell into the Persian Gulf not many miles away.
And when Lord Trenchard saw it there it looked so bleak and bare,
He said “That’s what we’re looking for – we’ll put our Air Force there”.
So – they sent out river gunboats, armoured cars and A.H.Q.
And then they put our squadron right in that maknoon blue.
Oh, peechi, I’ll be going to a land that’s far remote,
Until that day you’ll hear me say,
“Roll on that maknoon boat!”.


I’ve got those Shaibah Blues, Shaibah Blues,
I’m fed up and I’m tired and I’m old.
Oh, I’ve been sitting here for close upon two year,
And I wish I were in my coffin underground.
I’ve tried to learn the lingo, but it’s fairly got my goat,
The only thing that I can say’s “Roll on the maknoon boat!”
I’ve got those Shaibah Blues, Shaibah Blues
I’m fed up and I’m tired and I’m old.

[mhutti – mud, muck peechi – presently, soon maknoon – mad, silly]

sent in by Terry Middlemiss

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