Within my collection of postcards dating from the First World War is this very poignant card from a father to his young daughter. Unfortunately, there are no other identifying marks on the card so it is impossible to trace anything in connection with this card, so the sender of the card must remain A soldier of the Great War – Known Unto God.
In my mind’s eye, I see Rhoda’s daddy spotting this postcard being sold by the street vendors near the Western Front, and on seeing the embroidery of the soldier with his rifle, thought this to be a good likeness of himself. And so Rhoda’s daddy sent home to his much loved daughter, a portrait of himself in uniform, pipe in mouth.
It’s a long way to Tipperary was a song written in 1912 and first performed in the music halls prior to the outbreak of the Great War. On the original printed sheet-music, the name of the song had an extra “long” in it – It’s a long, long way to Tipperary. But by the time of the First World War, this extra “long”, had, in the main, been dropped from the title. From the very beginning of the First World War, the song became a very popular song sang by soldiers marching across the Western Front and other theatres of war.
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.
The song was so popular that prolific publishers of postcards, Bamforth of Holmfirth, Yorkshire, published in 1914 a series of 4 cards with the lyrics on each card, and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary song-cards became another set of postcards for people to send each other during the First World War. These type of postcards were, no doubt, designed to boost the morale of the population.
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– The Willett family of Great Dunmow
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