[ British Women on the Home Front in the First World War. ] Mimeographed Leaflet, on Government letterhead, of poem '"The Girls They Left Behind Them" | Air -: The Minstrel Boy.'[

[ British Women on the Home Front in the First World War; Sir Richard Harington, 12th Baronet, of Ridlington (1861-1931; Thomas Moore) ]
Publication details: 
Undated. Circa 1916.
SKU: 20009

The item derives from the papers of Sir Richard Harington, 12th Baronet of Ridlington (1861-1931), who volunteered for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on the outbreak of the First World War, and was promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the Anti-Aircraft Corps, serving in that capacity until 1916. 2pp., foolscap folio. On both sides of a leaf of paper with embossed Government crest. In fair condition, lightly-aged and worn, with a few short closed tears to edges. Mimeographed duplication of a manuscript poem parodying Thomas Moore's poem 'The Minstrel Boy'. No date or author or other information. Titled: '"The Girls They Left Behind Them" | Air - : The Minstrel Boy.' Thirty-two lines, in four eight-line stanzas. The first stanza reads: 'The Farmer's Boy to the War has gone, | With the Lad's [sic] in Khaki you will find him; | His belt and bayonet, he has girded on, |And his knapsack slung behind him. | 'Tis a woman now, who guides the plough | On the farm where they used to find him | His trousers and his smock are worn, | By the girl he left behind him.' The succeeding three stanzas concern 'The Tram Conductor' ('helping now to “punch” the foe', while 'the fellows who ride on top and inside, […] say it's nice to get your ticket “punched” | By the girl he left behind him.'), 'The Village Policeman' ('Before he went, his uniform, his boots | And his whiskers, he had to leave behind him.') and 'The Squires Son' ('On a British “Dreadnought” you will find him.”). The only reference to this item is an internet post stating that its author had found it as 'parody penned by G Foster Rogers at Strohen POW Camp in January 1918 in a fellow officer's autograph book'. The version of the poem reproduced by the poster differs from the present item in ways which indicate that the present item is older. The poster's second line reads: 'In a front line trench you will find him', and the last line but two reads 'Long with Beatty now you'll find him', rather than ''Long with Jellicoe now you'll find them' as in the present item. (Beatty succeeded Jellicoe as Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet in 1916.)