Judge 1872 - 1938
Great War started on 4th August 1914 with a declaration of war on
Germany by Britain. No one realised how long the war would last
or how it would touch the life of everyone in the country, but it
would bring both fame and sorrow for Jack.
the British Expeditionary Forces arrived at Boulogne at the start
of the war, they were watched by a reporter from the Daily Mail.
The Connaught Rangers were part of the force, and marched down the
gangway singing a song he had not heard before. It was 'It's
a long, long way to Tipperary'. He commented on this in his
article, and included lines from the song. The song was immediately
taken up by the other army units, and in demand by civilians. The
demand for sheet music suddenly grew, Jack was famous, and even
more music halls wanted him. He was 42 years old!
a few months, the song had spread world-wide, and had been translated
into dozens of languages. This song is not, in itself, patriotic
in any way, but is a simple humorous tale about an Irish lad, who
has gone to London, writing to his sweetheart in Ireland. Nevertheless,
it had become indelibly linked with the First World War, because
it had an infectious tune, was good to march to, and marked 'allegro
con spirito', 'fast with spirit', just what the army needed!
Cards depicting the story in 'Tipperary'
singing at 'Grand Recruiting Night' in West Bromwich,
January 1915 [Midland Chronicle, 8/1/'1915]
was patriotic, an admirer of King and country. He continued to perform
around the country, raising its morale. Increasingly, he was drawn
into recruiting events and fund-raising to help those returning
home wounded, or families facing hard times because the bread-winner
was at the front or lost. He supported the local groups raising
money to send comforts to the soldiers and sailors, appeared in
countless concerts for them, and started the 'Tipperary Concert
Party' to perform at these events.
performing at Langley Institute in 1917 to raise money
for the Langley Soldiers' and Sailors' Fund, which sent
comforts to Langley men at the front [Oldbury Weekly
did write and perform popular openly-patriotic songs during the
war, such as 'We're All under the Same Old Flag'.Two
songs had a distinctly Irish theme: 'Michael O'Leary, V.C.',
about the first Irishman to win the Victoria Cross in the war, and
another about a wonderful aeroplane, 'Paddy Maloney's Aeroplane'.
He recorded both of these for Winner records in 1915.
for 'Paddy Maloney's Aeroplane' sung by Jack. Note the
issue of 40,000 records free and roylaty-free to the army
and navy. [Oldbury Weekly News, 23/7/1915]
of the songs at that Jack wrote up to 1917 bore the name of Harry
Williams as well as Jack's, and Bert Feldman continued to publish
them. The picture shows the three men, Harry William on the left,
Bert Feldman in the centre and Jack at the right.
eldest son, John, reached eighteen years of age in 1915, and immediately
volunteered for the 8th Royal Welsh fusiliers. Jack's brothers,
Will and Jimmy, were also serving. In 1916, the desperate need for
soldiers at the front led to the introduction of conscription, and
then to the raising of the upper age for military service to 46.
Jack was 44, and, therefore, liable to be conscripted. However,
he appeared before the military tribunal for Oldbury, arguing that
he could do more for the war effort by continuing to raise the spirits
of the nation and carry out his charitable work, rather than joining
the army. The tribunal agreed, and granted him exemption, provided
he continued in this work.
report of John Judge's death. [Midland Chronicle
the war was to bring him a bitter blow in February 1917, when his
son, John, was killed in Mesopotamia at the age of 20. The Welsh
Fusiliers were cut down by shells and machine gun fire as they attacked
the Turks at Dahra Bend, and the body of Pte John Judge was never
identified. He is commemorated on the memorial at Basra.
and the family were shocked, but he put his personal pain aside
to continue his charitable work.
Judge had started to write songs himself, and had sent one home
from the army, 'Everybody's Proud of Their Own'. After John's
death, Jack polished the song up, started singing it, and published
it in their joint names.
of Jack's songs that proved popular was 'Proud I Am', published
in 1918 and sung by Ethel Levey according to the sheet music. Ted
Judge also sang it, and it was played by Joe Loss and his orchestra.
It was re-issued in 1941 during the second world war.
Judge, Fred Skipp and Jack Judge in carnival dress [Oldbury
six months after Jackie's death, Jack was heavily involved in one
of the largest fund-raising events of the war in Oldbury, a great
carnival in September 1917. The aim was to raise as much money as
possible for local soldiers and sailors and their families. It included
a huge procession round the borough, visiting Langley and Warley
as well as Oldbury town. The floats and walkers covered all aspects
of the war: nurses, returned soldiers, munitions workers, as well
as the uniformed organisations, local industry, and churches. The
great procession was headed by Jack Judge, Ted Judge and Fred Skipp,
who was had been a professional soldier in the nineteenth century
and now kept the 'Bustle House' in Birmingham Street. Jack Judge
was dressed as 'John Bull', Ted Judge as 'Uncle Sam', and Fred Skipp
in uniform and medals, represented old soldiers. The weather was
so bad on the planned carnival day that it had to be postponed,
but when it was finally held a week later, it was a great success.
of the carnival parade moving down Birmingham Street in
September 1917. Behind the lorry is a group of women munitions
workers passing the 'Picture House', later rebuil as the
'Savoy Cinema'. [Langley Local History Society]
war finally finished in November 1918, and Jack could turn his attention
to peacetime. His immediate reaction
was the song, 'Jerusalem: The Joyful Hymn of Victory and Thanksgiving',
which was written "with the greatest respect to all people, and
with due reverence to all Creeds, in an honest endeavour to re-echo
the sentiments of Civilisation".
In a very different peace song noted in November 1918
by the 'Oldbury Weekly News', which printed the words in full. This
was a Scottish song about Jock returning from the war in his 'khaki-covered
kilt' to marry his blue-eyed bonnie Jean McGraw. It was called
'Lang May Yer Lum Reek', which, as the second verse tells us,
means 'long may your chimney smoke'. The 'Pipes of Peace are playing
in the Highlands' in the third verse.
Weekly News article, November 1918
pamphlet of Jerusalem:' The Joyful Hymn of Victory and
Thanksgiving' [Langley Local History Society].
used and tattered copy of 'Its a Long Way no Longer'.
[Oldbury Local History Group].
returned to his music hall career, and was again away from Jinny
and the family for long periods of time. His songs were more light-hearted
and upbeat in mood now, including, 'It's a Long Way no Longer'
and 'Its no use Worrying over Yesterday' (both 1918), and
'Where the Apple Blossom Grows' (1919). The Oldbury Weekly News
regularly reported new songs by Jack; in many instances, the songs
have not survived, and there is no other record of him writing them.
concern for the treatment of the returning soldiers grew, and he
still worked on their behalf. His dismay at their treatment was
summed up in a 1920 song 'Where is Peaceland?' It was never
published because Bert Feldman considered it too subversive. It
was quite unlike anything else that Jack wrote: gone was the humour,
in came the anger at the situations the 'returning heroes' had to
face. Each verse starts, "Discontented Tommy - discontented Jack".
The first verse continues,
were promised good things when 'the lads came back'
is their employment?.
good is their pay?..
is their enjoyment?
far away! ..."
Jack sang it
at a concert in September 1920 at the Brown Lion in Oldbury, where
it was well received by an audience that contained many discontented
Tommies and Jacks. However, it was only performed locally.
the end of the war, Benjamin Williams had moved from the Malt Shovel
to The Plough Inn at Mere Green, Warwickshire, which now has been
renamed 'The Tipperary'. Harry had gone with him, and died there
in 1924. Harry's name did not appear on any of Jack's new compositions
after 1917. The Williams family started to make claims that Harry
was a song-writer, who had written 'Tipperary', and that this had
been 'stolen' by Jack. This seems implausible since there is no
evidence that Harry had written any solo songs, or had any solo
item published. In both its theme and its structure, 'Tipperary'
is typical of the work that Jack was producing before 1910 and after
his collaboration with Harry had ceased. It has the 'Jack Judge
stamp' on it. Nevertheless, the controversy over the writing of
'Tipperary' did not go away.
songs and verses can never be described as great literature. However,
they did capture the spirit of the time and the tradition of the
music hall, generally being catchy, fast, amusing and easy to sing.
Just what the marching soldiers and the music hall audiences wanted.
information in this article has been taken from 'Jack Judge, the
Tipperary Man' by Verna Hale Gibbons, from articles by Leslie Frost
in the Oldbury Weekly News in 1962, from contemporary newspaper
articles, from Gillian Nicklin (Jack's only great-granddaughter),
from research and family papers of the Stanley family (descendants
of Jack's sister, Jane Ann), and from personal research. Dates of
births, marriages and deaths have been taken from these sources
and the birth, marriage and death indices available online at freebmd.rootsweb.com,
and from the on-line databases of ancestry.co.uk and familysearch.org.
and family tree in this format: © Dr Terry Daniels, 2011
and illustrations: © Various, as stated in captions
for permission to reproduce
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history societies of Oldbury are building up as complete an archive
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We are particularly interested in copying recordings of Jack's music.