I can not sing the old songs now! It is not that I deem them low; ’T is that I can’t remember how they go…


This week is the Glorious Fourth – the 4th of July – and as a tribute to the Americans who fought in Europe from 1917-18 we offer both the lyrics, for those who can’t remember how they go, and the book for those who want more of the old songs.

John-nie, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run,
Hear them call-ing you and me, ev’-ry son of lib-er-ty
Hur-ry right a-way, no de-lay, go to-day
Make your Dad-dy glad to have had such a lad,
Tell your sweet-heart not to pine, to be proud her boy’s in line

O-ver there, o-ver there, send the word, send the word, o-ver there,
That the Yanks are com-ing, the Yanks are com-ing,
The drums rum-tum-ming ev’-ry where
So pre-pare, say a prayer, send the word, send the word to be-ware
We’ll be o-ver, we’re com-ing o-ver,
And we won’t come back ’til it’s o-ver O-ver There!

John-nie, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,
John-nie show the Hun you’re a son of a gun
Hoist the flag and let her fly, Yan-kee Doo-dle do or die
Pack your lit-tle kit, show your grit, do your bit
Yan-kees to the ranks from the towns and the tanks
Make your moth-er proud of you and the old Red White and Blue

O-ver there, o-ver there, send the word, send the word, o-ver there,
That the Yanks are com-ing, the Yanks are com-ing,
The drums rum-tum-ming ev’-ry where
So pre-pare, say a prayer, send the word, send the word to be-ware
We’ll be o-ver, we’re com-ing o-ver,
And we won’t come back ’til it’s o-ver O-ver There!

When this bloody war is over : soldiers’ songs of the First World War    London : Piatkus, 2001 Max Arthur ; introduction by Lyn Macdonald World War, 1914-1918  Songs and music Book. xxx, 130 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. Be sure and read the extended description at our head listing.  VG  

Up to mighty London
Came an Irishman one day.
As the streets are paved with gold
Sure, everyone was gay,
Singing songs of Piccadilly,
Strand and Leicester Square,
Till Paddy got excited,
Then he shouted to them there:

It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.

(repeat)

Paddy wrote a letter
To his Irish Molly-O,
Saying, “Should you not receive it,
Write and let me know!”
“If I make mistakes in spelling,
Molly, dear,” said he,
“Remember, it’s the pen that’s bad,
Don’t lay the blame on me!

It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.

Molly wrote a neat reply
To Irish Paddy-O,
Saying Mike Maloney
Wants to marry me, and so
Leave the Strand and Piccadilly
Or you’ll be to blame,
For love has fairly drove me silly:
Hoping you’re the same!

It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.

An alternative concluding chorus, bawdy by contemporaneous standards:

That’s the wrong way to tickle Mary,
That’s the wrong way to kiss.
Don’t you know that over here, lad
They like it best like this.
Hooray pour Les Français
Farewell Angleterre.
We didn’t know how to tickle Mary,
But we learnt how over there.

When this bloody war is over, No more soldiering for me. This book brings together the words – humorous, cynical, bitter, wistful – of the songs the soldiers of the First World War sang. The haunting songs of the First World War still have a powerful emotional impact; these are the words the soldiers actually sang – on the march, in the dug-outs and trenches – amidst the appalling carnage of the battlefield. The stoic courage and endurance of the ordinary soldiers shines through such songs as We are Fred Karno‘s Army, No More Soldiering for Me and It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary. Each song is introduced by Max Arthur, giving its historical background. Together with contemporary cartoons and drawings, this attractive, evocative book cannot fail to delight and move anyone with an interest in the First World War.

When this bloody war is over
No more soldiering for me
When I get my civvie clothes on
Oh, how happy I will be
No more church parades on Sundays
No more putting in for leave
I will kiss the Sergeant-Major
How he’ll miss me, how he’ll grieve

When this bloody war is over
No more soldiering for me
When I get my civvie clothes on
Oh, how happy I will be
No more standing-to in trenches
Only one more church parade
No more NCOs to curse us
No more Tickler’s marmalade

When this bloody war is over
No more soldiering for me
When I get my civvie clothes on
Oh, how happy I will be
People said when we enlisted
Fame and medals we would win
But the fame is in the guardroom
And the medals made of tin

When this bloody war is over
No more soldiering for me
When I get my civvie clothes on
Oh, how happy I will be

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