WWI – Trench Songs

‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’

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.
Good-bye, Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square.
It’s a long long way to Tipperary, but my heart’s right there.

 

‘Bombed last night’

Bombed last night, and bombed the night before.
Going to get bombed tonight if we never get bombed anymore.
When we’re bombed, we’re scared as we can be.
Can’t stop the bombing from old Higher Germany.

They’re warning us, they’re warning us.
One shell hole for just the four of us.
Thank your lucky stars there are no more of us.
So one of us can fill it all alone.

Gassed last night, and gassed the night before.
Going to get gassed tonight if we never get gassed anymore.
When we’re gassed, we’re sick as we can be.
For phosgene and mustard gas is much too much for me.

They’re killing us, they’re killing us.
One respirator for the four of us.
Thank your lucky stars that we can all run fast.
So one of us can take it all alone.

‘Good-bye-ee’

Brother Bertie went away, to do his bit the other day.
With a smile on his lips and his lieutenant pips upon his shoulder bright and gay.
As the train moved out he said: ‘Remember me to all the girls’
And then he wagged his paw and went away to war shouting out these pathetic words:

‘Good-bye-ee, good-bye-ee, wipe the tears, baby dear, from your eye-ee.
Though it’s hard to part I know, I’ll be tickled to death to go.
Don’t cry-ee, don’t sigh-ee, there’s a silver lining in the sky-ee.
Bonsiour old thing, cheerio chin-chin,
napoo, toodle-oo, good-bye- ee.’

[napoo = nothing, all gone.]

‘Never Mind’

Tune: Never Mind

If the sergeant drinks your rum, never mind
And your face may lose its smile, never mind
He’s entitled to a tot but not the bleeding lot
If the sergeant drinks your rum, never mind

When old Jerry shells your trench, never mind
And your face may lose its smile, never mind
Though the sandbags bust and fly you have only once to die,
If old Jerry shells the trench, never mind

If you get stuck on the wire, never mind
And your face may lose its smile, never mind
Though you’re stuck there all the day, they count you dead and stop your pay
If you get stuck on the wire, never mind

If the sergeant says your mad, never mind
P’raps you are a little bit, never mind
Just be calm don’t answer back, cause the sergeant stands no slack
So if he says you’re mad, well – you are.

Parody of:

Though your heart may ache a while, never mind
Though your face may lose its smile, never mind
For there’s sunshine after rain, and the gladness follows pain.
You’ll be happy once again, never mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Three German Officers crossed the Rhine’

Tune: ‘Mademoiselle from Armentieres’

Three German Officers crossed the Rhine, parlez-vous
Three German Officers crossed the Rhine, parlez-vous
Three German Officers crossed the Rhine
To fuck the women and drink the wine,

(Chorus) Inky-dinky parlez-vous

They came to the door of a wayside Inn, parlez-vous
Pissed on the mat and walked right in, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

‘Oh landlord have you a daughter fair?’, parlez-vous
‘With lily-white tits and golden hair?’, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

‘My only daughter’s far too young’, parlez-vous
‘To be fucked by you, you bastard hun’, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

‘Oh father dear I’m not too young’ parlez-vous
‘I’ve just been fucked by the blacksmith’s son’, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

At last they got her on the bed, parlez-vous
And shagged her ’til her cheeks were red, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

They took her down a shady lane, parlez-vous
And shagged her back to life again, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

And then they took her to a bed, parlez-vous
And shagged her til she was nearly dead, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

They shagged her up they shagged her down, parlez-vous
They shagged her all around the town, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

They shagged her in they shagged her out, parlez-vous
They shagged her up her water-spout, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

Now seven months later all was well, parlez-vous
Eight months later she began to swell, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

Nine months later she gave a grunt, parlez-vous
And a little fat Prussian popped out her cunt, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

The fat little Prussian he grew and grew, parlez-vous
He fucked the cat and the donkey too, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

The fat little Prussian he went to hell, parlez-vous
He fucked the devil and his wife as well, parlez-vous
(Repeat)

(Chorus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire’

If you want to find the lance-jack, I know where he is
I know where he is, I know where he is
If you want to find the lance-jack, I know where he is
He’s scrounging round the cookhouse door.
I’ve seen him, I’ve seen him
Scrounging round the cookhouse door, I’ve seen him,
Scrounging round the cookhouse door.

The company sergeant…He’s laying on the latrine floor

The quarter master…Miles and miles behind the lines.

The sergeant-major…Thieving all the squaddies’ rum.

The buckshee private…Buried in a deep shell hole.

The C.O….Down in a deep dugout.

The brasshats…Drinking claret at Brigade HQ.

The politicians….Drinking brandy at the House of Commons bar.

The whole battalion…Hanging on the old barbed wire.

 

 

‘I wore a Tunic’

Tune: ‘I wore a Tulip’

I wore a tunic, a lousy khaki tunic,
And you wore your civvy clothes.
We fought and bled at Loos
While you were home on the booze
The booze that no one here knows.
Oh you were with the wenches
While we were in the trenches
Facing an angry foe.
Oh you were a-slacking
While we were attacking
The Jerry on the Menin Road.

 

 

‘Old Joe Whip’

Tune: ‘Casey Jones’ (Chorus)

Old Joe Whip, mounted on the parapet
Old Joe Whip, a Mills bomb in his hand,
Old Joe Whip, he stopped a blooming
whizzbang,
Now he’s a bomber in the promised land.

[Whizzbang = light shell, sounded as it came towards you like ‘whizz’ and then ‘bang’]

 

 

‘Hush, here comes a Whizzbang’

Hush, here comes a Whizzbang.
Hush, here comes a Whizzbang.
Now you soldiermen get down those stairs,
Down in your dugouts and say your prayers.
Hush, here comes a Whizzbang,
And it’s making right for you.
And you’ll see all the wonders of No-Man’s-Land,
If a Whizzbang, hits you.

 

 

‘When this lousy war is over’

Tune: ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’

When this lousy war is over no more soldiering for me,
When I get my civvy clothes on, oh how happy I shall be.
No more church parades on Sunday, no more begging for a pass.
You can tell the sergeant-major to stick his passes up his arse.

(Repeat first two lines of first verse)
No more NCOs to curse me, no more rotten army stew.
You can tell the old cook-sergeant, to stick his stew right up his flue.

(Repeat first two lines of first verse)
No more sergeants bawling, ‘Pick it up’ and ‘Put it down’
If I meet the ugly bastard I’ll kick his arse all over town

 

 

‘Whiter than the Whitewash’

Whiter than the whitewash on the wall!
Whiter than the whitewash on the wall!
Oh wash me in the water that you wash your dirty daughter in,
So that I can be whiter than the whitewash on the wall!
On the wall, on the wall, On the wall, on the wall,
Oh wash me in the water that you wash your dirty daughter in,
So that I can be whiter than the whitewash on the wall!

‘Oh it’s a lovely war!’

Up to your waist in water, up to your eyes in slush,
using the kind of language that makes the sergeant blush,
Who wouldn’t join the army? That’s what we all enquire.
Don’t we pity the poor civilian sitting by the fire.

(Chorus)
Oh, oh, oh it’s a lovely war.
Who wouldn’t be a soldier, eh? Oh it’s a shame to take the pay.
As soon as reveille has gone we feel just as heavy as lead,
but we never get up till the sergeant brings our breakfast up to bed.
Oh, oh, oh, it’s a lovely war.
what do we want with eggs and ham when we’ve got plum and apple jam?
Form fours. Right turn. How shall we spend the money we earn?
Oh, oh, oh it’s a lovely war.

When does a soldier grumble? When does he make a fuss?
No one is more contented in all the world than us.
Oh it’s a cushy life, boys, really we love it so:
Once a fellow was sent on leave and simply refused to go.
(Chorus)

Come to the cookhouse door, boys, sniff the lovely stew.
Who is it says the colonel gets better grub than you?
Any complaints this morning? Do we complain? Not we.
What’s the matter with lumps of onion floating around the tea?
(Chorus)

 

 

 

‘The Bells of Hell’

The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me.
And the little devils have a sing-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me.
Oh death where is they sting-a-ling-a-ling, oh grave thy victory?
The Bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling, for you but not for me.

 

 

‘I want to go home’

I want to go home, I want to go home.
I don’t want to go in the trenches no more,
Where whizzbangs and shrapnel they whistle and roar.
Take me over the see, where the
Alleyman can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

I want to go home, I want to go home.
I don’t want to visit la Belle France no more,
For oh the
Jack Johnsons they make such a roar.
Take me over the sea, where the snipers they can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

[Alleyman = German (from Fr. Allemagne)]

[Jack Johnson = heavy shell (from a boxer of the same name)]

 

 

‘Far, far from Wipers’

Far, far from Wipers I long to be.
Where German snipers can’t get at me.
Dark is my dugout, cold are my feet.
Waiting for Whizzbangs to send me to sleep.

[Wipers = Ypres]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘I don’t want to join the Army’

Tune: ‘On Sunday I walk out with a soldier’

I don’t want to join the army,
I don’t want to go to war.
I’d rather hang around Piccadilly underground,
Living off the earnings of a lady typist.
I don’t want a bayonet in my belly,
I don’t want my bollocks shot away.
I’d rather stay in England, in merry merry England,
And fornicate this bleeding life away.

 

‘We are Fred Karno’s army’

Tune:‘The Church’s One Foundation’

We are Fred Karno’s army, we are the ragtime infantry.
We cannot fight, we cannot shoot, what bleeding use are we?
And when we get to Berlin we’ll hear the Kaiser say,
‘Hoch, hoch! Mein Gott, what a bloody rotten lot, are the ragtime infantry’

[Fred Karno = a comedian of the time, sometimes replced with ‘in Kitchener’s’]

 

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