The Writing Of ‘Tipperary’

Bill Caddick

King Edward the Seventh, who some called The Peace Maker
Died back in nineteen-and-ten
He was buried at Windsor and in the procession rode
The noblest and highest of men
There were nine crowned kings and thirty proud princes
Leaders of many’s the land
And old ‘Kaiser Bill’ rode next to King George
With his Field Marshall’s baton in hand
Crippen was caught that very same year
Haley’s Comet flashed by
And the first of the labour exchanges was opened
The year the old king died

The Sidney Street siege brought nineteen-eleven
When anarchy died in the flames
In London, in June, King George and his queen
Played the coronation game
“A place in the sun “, said The Kaiser in Hamburg
Launching his new battle ships
King George made India, Ireland and Wales
Places for right royal trips
Titanic was launched on the day of The Derby
London’s last horse bus was shelved
The suffragettes marched demanding their rights
Then in came nineteen-and-twelve

Jack Judge went down to West Bromwich town
To welcome a brand new year
He went to a pub, to have a little sup
‘Cause he liked his pint of beer
When he’d had a drink he started to sing
And he raised his voice on high
My name’s Jack Judge, I’ll write you a song
From Oldbury town come I

Now a Birmingham man was standing near
And he heard what Jack did say
“A pound to a penny”, he says to Jack
“You can’t write a song in a day”
Jack just laughed, sang another song
And he says: “I’ll take you on
This afternoon I’ll write you a song
And I’ll sing it ‘fore the day is done”

Jack laughed again, sang another song
Drank another pint of beer
Then he caught a train to Stalybridge
Where that night he was due to appear
And the very first day of nineteen-twelve
Old Jack Judge won his bet
And the song he made and he sang that day
We never will forget

In March nineteen-twelve brave Scott and his comrades
Died while the snow storm roared
And later that year the good General Booth
Finally laid down his sword
There were riots in Ireland concerning home rule
Mrs. Pankhurst was in prison again
And Wilbur Wright died, the first of the fliers
As the Royal Flying Corps was named
Titanic went down in the spring of that year
Taking one thousand, five hundred lives
And the Balkan states blazed from border to border
As death began sharpening his knives

Of the nineteen-ten monarchs who mourned for King Edward
In nineteen-thirteen few survived
Though some of them lived to a peaceful old age
Assassins took many’s the life
Death came calmly to China and Sweden
But elsewhere the murderer’s hand
Struck The Pasha of Turkey, The King of the Greeks
While Spain pursued death’s plan
The armies of Europe paraded and postured
The stock-pile of weapons increased
At the Hague, as if in grim desperation
They opened The Palace of Peace

In nineteen-fourteen, with more suffragettes marching
The Arch-Duke of Austria was slain
In less than two months all Europe was marching
Death was in business again
Many’s the young man, from many’s the family
Willingly gave of his all
They died in the millions for dubious victory
Answering Kitchener’s call
But as they marched off to the trains and the troop ships
They sang as they hurried along
And the words echo back from the graveyards of Flanders
Singing old Jack Judges song –

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
Good-bye Piccadilly, farewell Leicester square
It’s a long, long, way to Tipperary, but my heart lies there

As sung by Iain MacKintosh. ‘Tipperary’ is not the town or the county in Ireland. It was a name that soldiers used for the red light district of Soho during the first world war.