(Parenthesized lyrics are not actually sung.)

When the Hussars had been driven back towards the Pimple
and drifting sand and smoke were having their effect — were they ever —
before the gunner boys — good on ya — up on Mosque ridge
took out all the Italian Artillery on that Pimple
and the Australians came up from Benghazi,

It was the Rifle Brigade, the Rifle Brigade,
with their famous one-armed colonel,
that held the line to the south and so managed the end of the entire Italian 10th army at Beda Fomm,

The Rifle Brigade, with Little Bill Crib as one of the enlisted men.
Now, everyone should know — but they don't —
about that bus-Fiat full of Italian damsels,
patting on yet more mascara and foundationing up their noses,
with their own private priest, forgiving them their lack of decent stockings and scent.

O'Conner sent them on their way, needless to say,
but what if he had given them to Little Bill Crib,
a real enterpriser,
with not half-bad contacts (though nobody knew it),
but fully nefarious intentions.

I'll take them back to Cairo at midnight St Valentine's day;
Had the local greek make me up a sign that said in arabic style english:
Big Bill Crib and his Ladies of the Desert.
Open for business Every Day of the week except when I say that we ain't.

And the customers came and the customers went (and I started noticing something off),
I begrudged each not-at-all a gentleman for having his crack at my winter woman in question,
and so sought to raise the standards for the clientele.
But that didn't manage to rest my head.
So that night I looked at myself in the shaving mirror scornfully and told myself the truth,

Big Bill Crib's fallen in love with his Ladies of the Desert,
every single one of them.

Those February desert dust 40 degree Winter Women were the ruin of me.

Lyrics submitted by appleseed

Big Bill Crib and His Ladies of the Desert song meanings
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