Who is ‘A.C.A.’?

Here’s the beginning of an article in the Times for 29th September, 1914:

marching songs

In all, the paper prints six of these efforts, each putting topical words to a traditional tune. So who is ‘A.C.A.’? If he’s familiar to officers from their schooldays, does this make him the author of a textbook, or perhaps the editor of a school anthology?A correspondent the next day took issue with the claim that these songs were written in the language of the private soldier, and objected especially to lines from a song set to the traditional tune ‘Here’s to the Maiden’:

Here’s to Lord Kitchener, brown with the sun,
Gentle, persuasive and balmy.
Giving his orders and getting them done,
All that he wants for the Army.

‘Balmy’, he pointed out, is ‘a word which has no place in the dictionary of Tommy Atkins’, whereas the average soldier certainly did know the word ‘barmy’.

There were quite a few well meaning collections of songs that soldiers ought to sing published in the first few months of the War. I don’t think I’ve ever come across reports of any of them actually being sung. The soldiers generally much preferred the efforts that they made up for themselves.



  1. Jonathan Lighter
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    “Does this make him … perhaps the editor of a school anthology?”

    Oh, God, I hope not.

  2. Posted September 15, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Got him!
    He is Arthur Campbell Ainger, 1841-1919.

    Son of an An­gli­can priest, Ain­ger at­tend­ed Eton and Trin­i­ty Coll­ege, Cam­bridge (BA 1860, MA 1864).
    In 1860 he be­came Cur­ate of Al­re­was, Staf­ford­shire; in 1864, As­sist­ant Mas­ter of Shef­field Col­le­gi­ate School; and in 1866 Read­er at the Tem­ple Church, Lon­don.
    He went on to teach at Eton un­til re­tir­ing in 1901. His works in­clude:

    Eton Songs, 1901
    Carmen Eton­ese, 1901
    Memories of Eton Six­ty Years Ago, 1917
    Eng­lish-La­tin Verse Dic­tion­ary, with H. G. Wink­le

    He wrote hymns – some titles are here: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/a/i/ainger_ac.htm

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