Mudcat Café message #590231 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31970   Message #590231
Posted By: gnomad
11-Nov-01 - 10:10 AM
Thread Name: WWI Trench songs
Subject: RE: Trench Songs of WW1
Genie: Further verses for Mademoiselle (or are these 2 songs that have got tangled by virtue of using the same tune?) inserted after 3 German officers having crossed the Rhine, repeats omitted for brevity;

They marched up to a wayside inn, Parlez-vous,
Pissed on the mat, and walked right in, Inky-pinky etc.

"Landlord have you a daughter fair?" P-v,
"With lily-white teeth (tits) and golden hair?" I-p, P-v,

"My daughter, Sir, is far too young," P-v,
"To be buggered about by the son of a Hun" I-p, P-v.

"Oh Father, dear, I'm not too young," P-v,
"To get a good shag from anyone." I-p, P-v.

An orphaned verse can be found in Manning's "Her Privates We" :

Mademoiselle, she bought a cow, P-v,
To milk the brute, she didn't know how, P-v,
She pulled the tail instead of the tit,
And covered herself all over with -MILK...

Manning also mentions use of "Here we are again" as a marching song.

Bugsy: In "Goodbye to all that" Graves mentions the troops having a liking for singing mainly comic songs of the day, or hymns. Instances given include Slippery Sam, + I Do Like a S'Nice S'Mince S'Pie.

More obviously war-related songs mentioned are; I Want to Go Home (mentioned earlier in thread) and When we've wound up the watch on the Rhine [or When We Wind Up the Watch on the Rhine(?)].

He also gives the following as being sung about Company QM Sgt Finnegan, to the hymn tune Whiter than the Snow.

Coolness under fire,
Coolness under fire,
Mentioned in dispatches
For pinching the Company rations,
Coolness under fire.

Now he's on the peg,
Now he's on the peg,
Mentioned in dispatches
For drinking up the Company rum,
Now he's on the peg.

Chorus
Whiter than the milky cokernuts,
Whiter than the milky cokernuts,
Wash me in the water
That you wash your dirty daughter in
And I shall be whiter than the milky cokernuts,
Nuts,
Nuts,
Oooooh nuts.

Incidentally there exists somewhere a film clip (saw it on TV some years ago) of Graves singing Hanging from the Old Barbed Wire. Like Dennis Healey's version of D-Day Dodgers the strength of the clip seems to come from his having lived through what he's singing about, quite moving. I'm a bit new at this, but sure someone here will be able to point to likely archive sources for such clips if they are of interest.

In his autobiography "Sagittarius Rising", Cecil Lewis gives one verse of "Hanging from the old barbed wire" as follows:

If you want to find the Sergeant-Major,
We know where he is! We know where he is!
If you want to find the Sergeant-Major, we know where he is!
He's lying on the canteen floor.
We've seen him, we've seen him,
Lying on the canteen floor we've seen him,
Lying on the canteen floor.
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Covered all over with tissue paper, tissue paper,
Marmalade and jam.

The "missing" 3rd line at first suggested faulty memory to me, but he published in 1936 while still aged under 40, and the final 3 lines don't fit the usual tune. Could there be a different tune out there somewhere?

Finally, one or two chroniclers mention the troops as having sung "Aupres de ma blonde" and "Alouette", presumably pinched from their host country, or from the French troops who we sometimes forget were also present in large numbers.

Memo to self: It being 11/11, Remember, and remember that "Dulce et decorum est" is an old lie.