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The Gift of Music, Keswick House, Branthwaite Road, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 4ED, United Kingdom.
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The Gift of Music | CDs | Music of the War Years | All Clear
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Everyone who lived through the Second World War has their ownpersonal memories of the period and the strong community spiritwhich bound the nation together. It elicited from the British people aunity, a sense of common purpose, the like of which had not been seenbefore. From the moment that War was declared on Sunday September3rd 1939, we banded and bonded together to resist a common enemy.Within weeks, husbands, fathers and sons were sailing or flying off tofight the foe.On the home front, we did not sit still. Women took their mens placeson either industrial assembly lines, or as part of the Womens Land Army,helping to provide the country with food at a time when U-Boats weredestroying merchant ships bringing supplies from America. And theDads Armies were also ready and eager to play their parts.Through it all were the songs, ever the songs. It was the age-oldBritish way of dealing with trouble and crisis by singing about them. In1915, we cheerfully sang Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bagand Smile! Smile! Smile! Now, yet again, we were singing songs aboutparting and reunion: Flanagan and Allen echoed the feelings of millionswith Theres A Boy Coming Home On Leave whilst Donald Peers longedfor that wonderful day When They Sound The Last All-Clear. Patrioticfervour was given voice in a stirring song which became a secondNational Anthem Therell Always Be An England. Our indominitable spirit was movingly expressed by Noel Coward in his London Pride andGeorge Formby saluted our brave fighting forces with the rousing BlessEm All.These were bittersweet years a time when we needed goodpopular music most of all. What star could be more appropriate to ournostalgic programme than a singer whose voiced warmed the hearts ofa generation. She is, of course, Vera Lynn, who will be forever known asThe Forces Sweetheart, and her poignant The White Cliffs of Dover stillretains its emotion-charged appeal.That vital tonic, humour, was liberally dispensed in the comic andnovelty songs of the War years. At the outset, a combative mood wasestablished with the exuberant Siegfried Line and we could all sympathisewith the sentiments of This Is The Army, Mr.Jones and Oh How I HateTo Get Up In The Morning. On the home front, the realities of war wereamusingly realised in George Formbys I Did What I Could With My GasMask and Fanny Is Evacuated Now from Ronald Frankau.For every man or woman who lived through it, World War II was adefining moment, a period of transition that changed our lives forever.The songs cannot replicate the experience: nothing, in fact, can, which isprobably just as well. But they do impart a flavour, a taste, of what it waslike to be British, fighting for peace and justice, for our country andfor one another.
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