Alert readers may recall that when the UK government announced plans for a £55m jamboree to mark the beginning of World War 1, on a date conveniently before the independence referendum rather than the traditional Remembrance Day in November, the more cynical of Yes supporters were immediately suspicious and/or angry.
But despite David Cameron initially announcing it as a “Jubilee-style” event that would tap into the celebratory spirit of the Olympics and might feature a star-studded football match (rather clumsily between Germany and England, rather than Britain or the Allies), the assurance was given that it would in fact be a sombre event respectfully commemorating the sacrifice of the dead, and definitely NOT a jingoistic festival of Britishness designed to influence the outcome of the vote.
Above is the video released by the “Military Wives” choir for the occasion, featuring Eamonn Holmes, Alan Titchmarsh, a George Formby impersonator and a dancing dog singing “Pack Up Your Troubles”, a jaunty song about what a jolly lark war is.
Further comment from us seems superfluous. So instead we thought we’d leave you with a few extracts from another BBC article on the song, from January this year.
Yet when brothers and music hall stars George and Felix Powell penned Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag they thought it ‘piffle’ and abandoned it. But the tune was pulled from a drawer marked ‘duds’ for a contest to find a marching tune for the troops – and won.
With success came heartache and bitter creative differences between the brothers. George had been a life-long pacifist, and as a conscientious objector he had reservations about his tune’s use as a rallying cry from the outset.
‘The song was described as the most upbeat ever written, and Felix was a star at the height of music hall, in the same vein as Charlie Chaplin,’ she said. ‘But gradually he became very upset that it was his tune which was accompanying thousands and thousands of men to their deaths.’
The brothers were however reconciled and moved to Sussex, where they ran a theatre and local newspaper. But Felix found it difficult to write after that and, with mounting financial problems, he took his own life in 1942 on the stage of the theatre he ran with his brother.”
Sing along at home, readers, won’t you?