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The Daily Telegraph - Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang, 1914–1918 (Paperback)

WWI Frontline Books Home Front in WWI Frontline: WWI 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

By John Brophy, Eric Partridge
Frontline Books
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781526760661
Published: 30th September 2019


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During the First World War, British soldiers were renowned for their chirpy songs and plucky sayings. Indeed, nothing would lift the spirits of the often exhausted and weary troops more than a hearty singalong. These cheery, and at times ribald and satiric, songs and sayings have been collected together to give a fascinating insight into the life of the average ‘Tommy’ in the Great War.

The songs that feature in this collection include marching tunes, songs for billets and rude chants for when no commanding officer was present. Each song is accompanied by a short passage that traces the origins of the melody and accounts for lyrical alternatives. There is also a large glossary of soldiers’ slang words and phrases, revealing the Tommies’ vocabulary in all its bawdiness.

The Daily Telegraph - Dictionary of Tommies’ Song and Slang provides an insight into the courage, gaiety and astringent cynicism with which men armed themselves against the horrors of trench warfare.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

"Singing, with intervals of silence or of whistling or humming provided a distraction from the long, slow count of the heavy laden miles..." "The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang, 1914-1918" is comprised of songs that "were universally sung in British Expeditionary Forces at one time or another during 1914-1918." Editors Brophy and Partridge have presented an impressive collection of these songs. Included are songs of longing such as "Keep The Home Fires Burning", sarcastic ditties "On,Oh,Oh It's a Lovely War! and an end of conflict song "The Bells are Ringing For Me and My Girl". In this reader's opinion, World War I literature has been greatly enhanced by the feelings emoted by the common soldier, be they words of determination, jest, sarcasm, weariness or exasperation. An excellent literary read.

NetGalley, Fran Eichenauer
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