Sunday, January 31, 1915

In Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Route march.  Lecture to officers by Capt. E. W. Pope,* Bde. Staff on Military Law.” [1]

* Note:  Captain Edgar William Pope, Royal Canadian Regiment, Staff Captain, 3rd Cdn. Inf. Bgde.,CEF; later Lieut.-Col.

31 Jan 15THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” is a British music hall song written by Jack Judge and co-credited to, but not co-written by, Henry James “Harry” Williams.  It was allegedly written for a 5 shilling bet in Stalybridge on 30 January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Now commonly called “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, the original printed music calls it “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary.” It became popular among soldiers in the First World War and is remembered as a song of that war.

Welcoming signs in the referenced town of Tipperary, Ireland, humorously declare, “You’ve come a long way…” in reference to the song.

During the First World War, Daily Mail correspondent George Curnock saw the Irish regiment the Connaught Rangers singing this song as they marched through Boulogne on 13 August 1914 and reported it on 18 August 1914. The song was quickly picked up by other units of the British Army. In November 1914 it was recorded by the well-known tenor John McCormack, which helped its worldwide popularity.

One of the most popular hits of the time, the song is typical in that it is not a war-like song that incites the soldiers to glorious deeds. Popular songs in previous wars (such as the Boer Wars) frequently did this. In the First World War however, the most popular songs, like this one and “Keep the Home Fires Burning“, concentrated on the longing for home.”   [2]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Jan 31, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]    Wikipedia contributors, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed August 28, 2014).

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