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