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Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty

This song, in which a series of soldiers yearn to return to ‘Blighty’, or Britain, was hugely popular in 1917.

Year:1916

Location:Recorded in the UK

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Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty

This song, in which a series of soldiers yearn to return to ‘Blighty’, or Britain, was hugely popular in 1917.


Year: 1916

Length: 2:34

Credits: Songwriters: Arthur J Mills, Fred Godfrey and Bennet Scott / Performer: Florrie Forde

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title: 1216979


People: Songwriters: Arthur J Mills, Fred Godfrey and Bennet Scott / Performer: Florrie Forde

Location: Recorded in the UK

Tags: popular music, Florrie Forde

Subject: popular music


‘’Blighty’ is a corruption of a Hindustani word from the days of the British Raj, meaning ‘Britain’. This song tells of three fictional soldiers on the Western Front suffering from homesickness and longing to return home to ‘Blighty’.

‘Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty’ was a hugely popular song from the First World War. The London Times of 1917 reported that it was the most popular wartime pantomime song of that winter, and was even sung at the London Opera House by the music hall star Ella Retford with audience participation.

The story goes that songwriters Arthur J Mills, Fred Godfrey and Bennet Scott were passing a music hall in Oxford. A show called ‘Blighty’ was being performed and one of them declared, ‘What an idea for a song!’  Four hours later it was written and became the biggest hit from the early part of Fred Godfrey’s songwriting career.

English actress Dorothy Ward is credited with first recording the song. This version is sung by Australian Florrie Forde. It is a much shorter version than others and the UK cities mentioned - Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester – are changed from other recorded versions. It was recorded no less than seven times in 1916

Florrie Forde was a music hall artist born in Melbourne who performed all her life – literally. She collapsed and died from a cerebral haemorrhage after singing for troops in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1940.

Forde released 700 individual recordings between 1903 and 1936. She had a powerful stage presence and specialised in songs that had memorable choruses in which the audience was encouraged to join in. She was at the height of her fame during the First World War.


Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty – lyrics (short version)

Jack Dunn strafing the Hun somewhere in France today

Keeps fit doing his bit, up to his eyes in clay

Each night after the fight, to pass the time along

He's got a little gramophone that plays this song.

Take me back to dear old Blighty!

Put me on the train for London town!

Take me over there,

Drop me anywhere,

Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester, well, I don't care

I should love to see my best girl,

Cuddling up again we soon should be,

WHOA!!!

Tiddley iddley ighty,

Hurry me back to Blighty,

Blighty is the place for me!

One day, Mickey O' Shea, stood in a trench somewhere

So brave, having a shave, trying to part his hair

Mickey yells dodging the shells and lumps of dynamite

Talk of the Crystal Palace on a fireworks night.

Take me back to dear old Blighty!

Put me on the train for London town!

Take me over there,

Drop me anywhere,

Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester, well, I don't care

I should love to see my best girl,

Cuddling up again we soon should be,

WHOA!!!

Tiddley iddley ighty,

Hurry me home to Blighty,

Blighty is the place for me!