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Remembered Today:

Soldiers' Songs


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#1 Deleted_Steeles War_*

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Posted 07 November 2002 - 11:45 PM

hi all, i'm new to these forums.Does anyone know of any song's that British soldier's generally sung, mainly in 1915? I ask because I am writing an historical fiction book set in WW1, calld Steele's War thank you in advance.

#2 Deleted_J.Woodward_*

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 01:32 AM

There is actually a really rather good book on this subject by Max Arthur - 'When this Bloody War is Over' which contains pretty much every song you could wish for, from music hall songs to the soldiers own efforts and parodies of the home front favourties like Tipperary. In 1915 it seems that the troops 'trench-grown' songs hadn't were not that well known, so they simply sang the popular music hall hits of the day which they soon parodied. The ISBN number of Arthurs book 0 7499 2285 4, your library should be able to get a copy, as it's quite a recent number. Hope this helps
Joe Woodward

#3 Stuart Brown

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 08:26 AM

There is a section of songs in the book - The Long Trail (What the British soldier sang and said in 1914-18) by Brophy & Partridge.



Title - We're Here Because

Air : "Aul Lang Syne"

We're here because
We're here because
We're here because we're here.

Sung with great gusto because 99 times out of a hundred, the men who sang it had no idea why they were "here", or where "here" was, or how long they would continue at it.

#4 Mike Steele

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 09:46 AM

Can I just ask why you are calling it 'Steele's War' ???

I would think the reason is obvious !!!!

#5 Hill_60

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 10:22 AM

There is a website ( www.ww1.photos.com ) that has a small list of WWI songs.

They are divided into the songs sung at home and the ones sung in the trenches. A favourite of mine is 'When Very Lights are Shining' to the tune of 'When Irish Eyes are Smiling'.

All the words are accompanied by original music with some including the singer.

Lee

#6 Myrtle

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 11:09 AM

Lena Ford who wrote the words for Till the Boys Come Home also known as Keep the Home Fires Burning was killed when a 2000 pound bomb was dropped on Maida Vale 7th March 1918. Her son Walter was also killed in the same incident. Her song had been set to the music of Ivor Novello in 1915.

Myrtle

#7 Deleted_Steeles War_*

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 11:19 AM

WOW!! this is more replie's than I expected.This is a really helpful board.Thank you all and to the bloke that asked why it was called Steele's War, it isn't named after a Mike Steele rolleyes.gif but the main character Richard Steele(dashing figure he is, though i'm thinking of making him the sort of anti hero later on in the book.)

#8 Kate Wills

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Posted 09 November 2002 - 12:31 AM

Ivor Novello wrote ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ in the early weeks of war, and was premiered in London in September 1914 (I have the exact details somewhere, if you wish) by one of his mother’s pupils, young Vera. It was encored 8 times at that first performance, and instantly achieved ‘hit’ status. “You couldn’t get away from it if you tried” remarked Ivor, as it was played on barrel organs, cinema pianos etc and quickly recorded. Although Lena Guilbert Ford supplied most of the lyrics, ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ were Novello’s words, inspired by a (dreadful) patriotic song his mother was trying to compose, entitled ‘Let’s keep the flag a’flying’. The words changed as Novello’s tune emerged from the piano.

Novello then joined the RNAS, but proved much less proficient as a pilot. He was given a desk job at the Admiralty, and as one of the first entertainers to make an official tour to France in March 1915, Novello played ‘Home Fires’ at the base hospitals and rest areas in and around Rouen and Le Havre, again to great acclaim. As Myrtle says, Lena G Ford lost her life due to enemy action; as for Novello, ‘Home Fires’ gave him lifelong fame and fortune, from the age of 21. The official song title is Till the Boys Come Home. It was an inspired composition, especially the lyrics, which matched the public mood perfectly.

Another popular song was the old Boer War hit ‘Goodbye Dolly Gray’.

By the way, could you not change your main character's name to Michael and make someone happy (I know you would get several extra sales!!)

#9 Kate Wills

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Posted 09 November 2002 - 12:35 AM

'We're here because...' was not sung until late 1916, i.e. post Somme.

#10 jhill

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Posted 09 November 2002 - 12:46 AM

The Veterans' Affairs Department in Ottawa has a "Songs of the Great War" web page at http://www.vac-acc.g...lections/chorus

There is also a page about the "Dumbells" concert troup with audio snppets and whatnot at http://www2.nlc-bnc..../dumbells1e.htm

#11 Stuart Brown

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 09:16 PM

I appreciate that you asked for soldier's songs but here is a :


Mechanic's Moan



Tommy's songs reveal his true character as nothing else can ; but who knows then! And among the rest , the R.F.C. has songs peculiarly its own, derogatory to its own dignity to an extent which could not penetrate to a Hun's inner conciousness in a thousand years says "Aeronauts" which prints several specimens. The "Mechanic's Moan" is sung to the tune of "The Rosary", thus;

The hours I spent with thee dear 'bus,
Are as a string of plugs to me;
I count the clearances in all your valves
But you will miss - and still you miss
Some pilots are - and some are not
Some pilots can - and some cannot
The engine's misfiring! now we're o'er the lines
I'm coming back the fault's not mine
And when the war is over
I'm going back to Angleterre
And then you'll hear La Belle France calling me
I don't think: Je ne pense pas


Clip from a 1916 newspaper.