Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Songs of flying in First World War

GUEST,Menolly 14 Apr 16 - 10:36 AM
JenBurdoo 14 Apr 16 - 10:52 AM
Jack Campin 14 Apr 16 - 11:49 AM
JenBurdoo 14 Apr 16 - 12:24 PM
AlbertsLion 14 Apr 16 - 12:27 PM
AlbertsLion 14 Apr 16 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,jaze 14 Apr 16 - 06:48 PM
Herga Kitty 14 Apr 16 - 07:38 PM
GUEST 15 Apr 16 - 03:28 AM
FreddyHeadey 15 Apr 16 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 15 Apr 16 - 07:05 AM
Iains 15 Apr 16 - 09:23 AM
GUEST 15 Apr 16 - 11:45 AM
Jack Campin 15 Apr 16 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Lighter 15 Apr 16 - 08:12 PM
GUEST 15 Apr 16 - 10:19 PM
GUEST 29 Apr 17 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Jennifer 29 Apr 17 - 01:53 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST,Menolly
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 10:36 AM

Does anyone know of any songs that refer to flying or the aircraft of the First World War. I have been unable to think of any.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: JenBurdoo
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 10:52 AM

There are any number of ditties popular among the aircrew of the period, most of them parodies.

A POOR AVIATOR LAY DYING
(First World War Version, trad)
Tune: My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean

A poor aviator lay dying
At the end of a bright summer's day
His comrades had gathered about him
To carry his fragments away

The airplane was piled on his wishbone
His Hotchkiss was wrapped round his head
He wore a spark-plug on each elbow
'Twas plain he would shortly be dead

He spit out a valve and a gasket
And stirred in the sump where he lay
And then to his wondering comrades
These brave parting words he did say

"Take the magneto out of my stomach,
And the butterfly valve off my neck,
Extract from my liver the crankshaft,
There are lots of good parts in this wreck"

"Take the manifold out of my larynx,
And the cylinders out of my brain,
Take the piston rods out of my kidneys,
And assemble the engine again."

Additional verses in some versions detract from the poignancy of the pilot being one with his aeroplane.

Pull the longeron out of my backbone,
The turnbuckle out of my ear (my ear).
From the small of my back take the rudder-
There's all of your aeroplane here.

I'll be riding a cloud in the morning,
With no rotary before me to cuss (to cuss).
Take the lead from your feet and get busy,
Here's another lad needing the bus!

Take the bullet from out of my shoulder,
Take the shrapnel out of my brain,
And the pom-pom from out of my liver,
And patch up the turret again

I'll be riding a cloud in the morning,
No more this gun turret to cuss,
So please patch me up in my shroud,
For I'll not be needing this bus

So hold all your glasses steady,
And let's drink a toast to the sky,
For here's to the dead already,
And here's to the next man to die

Oh, had I the wings of a little dove,
Far a-way, far a-way would I fly, I fly,
Straight to the arms of my true-love,
And there would I lay me and die.

Then get you two little white tombstones,
Put them one at my head and my toe, my toe,
And get you a penknife and scratch there,
"Here lies a poor pilot below."

And when at the Court of Enquiry
They ask for the reason I died, I died,
Please say I forgot twice iota
Was the minimum angle of glide.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 11:49 AM

The Hotchkiss was a WW2 weapon, so that is misdated.

One from WW1 is Scott Skinner's strathspey "The Zeppelin", which is punctuated by claps or stamps to represent anti-aircraft fire.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: JenBurdoo
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 12:24 PM

Nope, Hotchkiss was a WWI gun, the primary gun of the French army, and IIRC was actually the type used by Roland Garros. It certainly wasn't operated by the Brits in WWII, though it had sporadic use by them in the first war.

Regardless, I first learned this song from books on WWI aviation, so it was sung then, though there are WWII and modern variants. It may be based on a song about a racing driver.

A music-hall song with the refrain, "Archibald, certainly not!" was reportedly the origin of the term "Archie" for anti-aircraft fire during WWI; It was supposedly sung by pilots as they dodged ground fire, and the name stuck until WWII when "flak", after the German abbreviation for an AA gun.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: AlbertsLion
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 12:27 PM

"In December 1914 the famous French aviator Roland Garros, then serving with Escadrille 23, worked with Raymond Saulnier to create a gun synchronizer, using the gas operated Hotchkiss light machine gun."

Hotchkiss light machine guns were produced from early 20th cent - predated by heavier Gatling/Maxim types from 1870's.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: AlbertsLion
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 12:34 PM

"It certainly wasn't operated by the Brits in WWII,"

err..........Troops of 1 Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB), 9th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, firing a captured Hotchkiss machine gun during street fighting in Caen, 10 July 1944.

Nice piccy @
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotchkiss_machine_gun


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST,jaze
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 06:48 PM

Snoopy and the Red Baron? Sorry, just kidding.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 07:38 PM

Les Sullivan's song about the dubious propaganda used to recruit airmen - "Fly so high".

Kitty


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 03:28 AM

Carl Zuckmeyer's play 'Des Teufels General', which is claimed by some to be based around the life of WW1 flyer Ernst Udet, contains various flying songs.

I don't have access to a text, so cannot comment on their authenticity but if my recollection is correct they are only given in part, suggesting that the complete words were well known and in general circulation. Perhaps one of the German natives/residents may be in a better position to research this than I.

Though the play is set in WW2, the most famed part of Harras's career was in WW1, and the songs in which he indulges might be presumed to date from the same time.

Flying was in its infancy during WW1, very much a high-risk occupation, and with (relatively) low numbers of participants. As a result there are not likely to be too many authentic songs to be found, making each one that much more precious.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 04:27 AM

There might be more at this museum

http://www.stowmaries.org.uk/contact/

they had a copy of the 'Poor Aviator' song I think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 07:05 AM

CH Ward-Jackson Airman's Song Book, London (Sylvan Press) 1945.

Although published after WW2, this book covers, chronologically, in sections "Before the first world war" (pp. 1-4), "From 1914 to the armistice in 1918" (pp. 5-74), "The 'Peace' years, 1918 to 1939" (pp. 75-110) and "The second world war" (pp. 111-181) with glossary and indexes. (or indices. There was a later edition (1967) published in Edinburgh & London by Blackwoods.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: Iains
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 09:23 AM

Who killed Cock Robin. This was adapted from a much earlier work.
https://books.google.ie/books?id=8C1fBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA367&lpg=PA367&dq=how+old+is+who+killed+cock+robin+raf&so


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 11:45 AM

Thanks everyone


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 12:27 PM

A German one, which does in fact refer to the Red Baron:

Jagdflieger-Lied


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 08:12 PM

The question isn't whether Hotchkiss MGs were used in WW1. The issue is whether they were used on British aircraft.

The answer is "in a limited way." While the Hotchkiss was the standard MG of the French air force, the principal airplane flown by the British (and Americans) armed with the Hotchkiss was the French deployed in 1916. Many of the British planes, however, were equipped with the more familiar Lewis gun. The Royal Naval Air Service operated a number of French Breguets and Caudrons, also armed with the Hotchkiss

One prominent unit to employ the Hotchkiss-armed Nieuport was the American Lafayette Flying Corps of the French air force. When the U.S. entered the war, this unit was transferred into American service.

The collectors of the only two *first-hand* examples of the song I've seen that mention the "Hotchkiss" had both been associated with the Lafayette F.C.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 10:19 PM

Roy Brown and Wop May


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 17 - 01:53 PM

I've found that 'The Dying Aviator' appears to be based on The Tarpaulin Jacket and its Australian version The Dying Stockman. I would not be surprised if it was initially written by an Australian in the RFC, though I expect that the Hotchkiss verse did originate with an American:

Oh had I the flight of the bronzewing
Far over the plains would I fly
Straight to the land of my childhood
And there I would lay down and die

(Which in turn seems to be based on a verse "If I had the wings of a turtledove", from Bound For Botany Bay.)

Then cut down a couple of saplings
Place one at my head and my toe
Carve on them crossed stockwhip and bridle
To show there's a stockman below

There's tea in the battered old billy
Place the pannikins all in a row
And drink to the stalwart old stockman
Who soon will be lying below.

I'm planning to record it shortly (this month is the centennial of the RFC's "Bloody April"). But I wonder if there was a chorus along the same lines as

Wrap me up in my tarpaulin jacket
And say a poor buffer lies low;
And six stalwart lancers shall carry me
Carry me with steps solemn, mournful and slow.

or

Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,
And bury me deep down below
Where the dingoes and crows cannot find me
In the shade where the coolibahs grow

Like "Wrap me up in my leather flight jacket..." The verse that ends "And assemble the engine again" appears to have been used as the chorus.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs of flying in First World War
From: GUEST,Jennifer
Date: 29 Apr 17 - 01:53 PM

Whoops, that was me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 August 2:38 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.