|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
You have often asked me what are the favourite songs of the soldier on Active Service, the rhymed lines which give expression to his soul. It is difficult to give an answer, the mere words are " dud " shells, which drop harmlessly to earth close to their objective. The soldier and his song cannot be separated from their surroundings. Let me explain and quote in illustration an incident which occurred a few weeks ago. A certain regiment, which glories in the name of the " Old Diehards," sent a draft to the " London Irish," and the new-comers attached to our battalion became part of the units' fighting strength. Sixty per cent of the draft were " old sweats," men who had fought well on many a bloody field, and added by prowess of arms numerous honours to their own beloved regiment. They had shared their last crust with hearty comrades in the retreat from Mons, they battled side by side with these comrades on the Marne, and wept over their graves by the Aisne. The circumstances of war strengthen the esprit-de-corps of a soldier, and I am not far wrong in stating that pride of regiment in an " old sweat " is much stronger than love of country. On the evening of their arrival these veterans sat in their huts and sang the song of the " Old Diehards." Mere doggerel the verse, the words fatuous, and the singing not above reproach. But the song touched the hearts of the audience ; the listeners were " old sweats " who had songs of their own. As I listened I thought of the children of Israel, who hung their harps on the willows and mourned for Babylon. The feeling engendered in a man when a futile shell drops close to him and fails to explode is difficult to make manifest in cold words; but it is even more difficult to give an adequate idea of the impression created in the hearts of those who listened to the song of the " Old Diehards."
SOLDIER SONGS - online songbook, Content Index.
Note: deduct 100 from the numbers shown to get the original page number from the book.
|Title Page Dedication Dedication Dedication Dedication Dedication Dedication Dedication Dedication Dedication Contents Contents Contents After Loos - 0123 Page - 0124 The Ole Sweats - 0125 Page - 0126 Page - 0127 Page - 0128 La Bassee Road - 0129 Page - 0130 A Lament - 0131 The Guns - 0132 Page - 0133 Page - 0134 Page - 0135 The Night Before and the Night After the Charge - 0136 "It's a Far, Far Cry" - 0137 Page - 0138 Off Duty - 0139 Page - 0140 I Oft Go Out at Night-time - 0141 Page - 0142 The Cross - 0143 Page - 0144 The Tommy's Lament - 0145 Marching - 0146 Page - 0147 In Fairyland - 0148 Page - 0149 Spoils of War - 0150 Page - 0151 Before the Charge - 0152 Letters - 0153 Page - 0154 Page - 0155 Page - 0156 Page - 0157 Page - 0158 The Everyday of War - 0159 Page - 0160 Page - 0161 Page - 0162 The London Lads - 0163 Page - 0164 The Little Brown Bird - 0165 Page - 0166 The Listening-Patrol - 0167 Page - 0168 Page - 0169 A Vision - 0170 Page - 0171 Page - 0172 A.D. 1916 - 0173 Page - 0174 The Hipe - 0175 Page - 0176 The Trench - 0177 Page - 0178 On Active Service - 0179 Page - 0180 Page - 0181 Billets - 0182 Page - 0183 In the Morning - 0184 Page - 0185 Page - 0186 Page - 0187 To Margaret - 0188 Death and the Fairies - 0189 The Return - 0190 Page - 0191 Red Wine - 0192 Page - 0193 The Dawn - 0194 Page - 0195 The Fly - 0196 Out Yonder - 0197 Page - 0198 I Will Go Back - 0199 Page - 0200 Page - 0201 The Farmer's Boy - 0202 Page - 0203 Page - 0204 Page - 0205 The Dug-Out - 0206 Page - 0207 Straf' That Fly - 0208 Page - 0209 The Star-Shell - 0210 After the War - 0211 Page - 0212 A Soldier's Prayer - 0213 Page - 0214 Page - 0215 Dug-Out Proverbs - 0216 Page - 0217 Page - 0218 Matey - 0219 Page - 0220|