When the War came.. Movement 3: Going to War

This is self-explanatory really. I wanted to capture the apprehension and fear and excitement which might have swept the village after war was declared; the rumours and the propaganda and the real fears; the u-boats were lurking around small ports… although not as far as I know to kidnap villagers..

.. and then I wanted to express how the romantic idea of war which persisted from their childhood fed into all this, together with the prospect of leaving home and having a real adventure; and finally I wanted to use the authentic songs of the time to show this little group of teenagers getting caught up in a nationwide frenzy of patriotism – but I have used the soldiers’ own satirical songs to temper this with the innate shrewd scepticism of the troops.

Shades of O What a Lovely War are inevitable here – the show that brought Jools and I together as collaborators in the first place. I love this music; Jools has had great fun with it and the kids will love singing it and the orchestra will love playing it and hopefully the audience will love listening to it. Things get much sadder quite fast after this, so we need a bit of a knees up at this point!

 

MOVEMENT THREE: GOING TO WAR

 

SONG THREE: WE MIGHT GO TO WAR!

BOYS AND GIRLS

 

Have you heard what they are saying?

Have you heard what they are saying?

Billy’s brother says that we might go to war!

 

And our Mam is looking worried

And our Dad is working, working

Day and night

To get the hay in..

Have you heard what they are saying?

 

Have you heard what they are saying?

Heard what everybody’s saying?

We might go to war.

 

They’ll be u-boats

In the harbour

And they’ll come ashore

In moonlight

And they’ll

Kidnap us

And kill us

‘Cause it’s war

 

Doreen says

Her hubby’s

Going –

Says he wants

To save

The country..

Milly says

The country’s

Saving him from her!

 

Have you heard what they are saying?

Have you heard what they are saying?

 

We’ll all starve

Because the army

Needs the harvest

For the soldiers…

No more cream

Or bread

Or butter..

‘Cause it’s war

 

The Germans

Just aren’t like us

They’ve got horns

And spikes

And helmets

And they growl

Instead of speaking

And they roar!

 

Have you heard what they are saying?

Have you heard what they are saying?

 

Joe’s Dad

has lost his horses

They said

they had to have them..

To pull

the guns in Flanders…

Poor Bess and Daisy May..

They are sending them to War!

 

Have you heard what they are saying?

Have you heard what they are saying?

 

Billy’s brother says that we might go to war!

 

And our Mam is looking worried

And our Dad is working, working

Day and night

To get the hay in..

Have you heard what they are saying?

 

Have you heard what they are saying?

Heard what everybody’s saying?

We might go to war.

 

 

NARRATOR

 

And then suddenly, it was more than saying. It was real. To us lads, it all sounded wonderful.

The girls weren’t so sure. But Dot and Phoebe decided that if we were going, they were going too.. neither of them fancied ambulance driving, so they both signed up as nurses. They liked the uniforms, and it was more glamorous and romantic. Their mums were happy, because they thought they’d be safe from the fighting, away back from the line.

Mary couldn’t come. Her mother was old and frail, and if she left, there was no-one to work the farm, with all the men gone. And no horses. It wouldn’t be right.

As Joe joined the line to sign up, for the first time, she wasn’t lining up behind him. Her face was white as she waved him goodbye.

But.. no one could be sad for long.. We were bubbling with excitement. A real war! And we were going to be in the thick of it!

 

SONG FOUR: WE’RE GOING TO WAR!      

ALL BOYS

 

We’re going to war! We’re going to war!

The army’s here and their drums are loud!

They march and march and they shake the ground!

Pound! Pound! Pound! Pound!

Everyone running to hear the sound!

 

We really are going to war!

 

We’re going to war! We’re going to war!

The army’s here and their drums are loud!

They march and march and they shake the ground!

Pound! Pound! Pound! Pound!

Everyone running to hear the sound!

 

We really are going to war!

 

No more living with dad and mum!

No more slaving to earn a crumb!

Shoulder to shoulder and chum by chum!

We’re all marching behind the drum!

 

We really are going to war!

 

OH, OH, OH, IT’S A LOVELY WAR! (ANON)

SCHOOLS 1 AND 2:

 

 

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 is gone,

We feel just as heavy as lead,

But we never get up till the sergeant

Brings us 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,

 

SONG FOUR: WE’RE GOING TO WAR!  

ALL BOYS

 

Like the heroes of Greece and Rome!

Like the cowboys we play at home!

Me and my pals against the foe!

All together and none alone!

 

We really are going to war!

 

We sail tomorrow across the sea!

Billy, Tommy and Fred and me!

We’re going to fight every last jerry!

We’ll kill them all and be home for tea!

 

We really are going to war!

 

PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES (FELIX POWELL)

 

SCHOOLS 3 AND 4

 

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,

And smile, smile, smile,

While you’ve a lucifer to light your fag,

Smile, boys, that’s the style.

What’s the use of worrying?

It never was worth while, so

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,

And smile, smile, smile.

 

SONG FOUR: WE’RE GOING TO WAR!  

ALL BOYS

 

We’ll stick together and none will fall

When we march back we’ll be strong and tall

Our mums will cry and the girls will call

We’ll be the heroes who saved us all!

 

We really are going to war!

 

ALL GIRLS

 

We’ll wait to catch them in case they fall!

We’ll wrap them warmly in sheet and shawl!

We’ll hold their hands when they cry and call!

We’ll be the heroes who nursed them all!

 

We really are going to war!

 

GOODBYE-EE (R.P.WESTON AND BERT LEE)

SCHOOLS 5 AND 6

 

Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,

Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,

Tho’ 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,

Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,

Nah-poo, toodle-oo, goodbye-ee.

 

 

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