Originally published in 1987. In this book we find songs reflecting every aspect of life in the twentieth-century Royal Navy, both upper and lower deck: war, ship’s routine, aviation, submarines, the antics of dockyard personnel, not to mention the matelot’s shore-going adventures, both amorous and bibulous.
The compiler was well-known as a folk-singer, though he began his career in the Royal Navy. Based on his personal collection of Navy songs, this book proves that the sailor’s muse did not desert him with the passing of the sailing ship. It also dispels the notion that the modern Jack Tar, when he produces any songs at all, confines himself to the pornographic. With the songs, Cyril Tawney interweaves a commentary on the Royal Navy setting, providing a backdrop to the sailor’s own words. This book is of enduring appeal to all who have served as well as to students of twentieth-century oral tradition.
Preface. Introduction. The Songs 1. Ships Routine 2. At Liberty 3. Dockyard 4. War 5. Fleet Air Arm 6. Submarines 7. One from the Wrens 8. Envoi. Appendices – Tradition Continued, Shared Repertoire, Fragments, Some Tunes. Sources. Glossary. Sternpiece