Departure is imminent.

All manner of cards are available to soldiers who do not trust their own words to convey their feelings to those they are about to leave behind. Here is one:

Ebbtide front

This is one of a series of song cards published by Bamforth, a Yorkshire company whose  “saucy” seaside postcards are still available. (1) The song cards were published in threes or fours to illustrate hymns or sentimental songs. This card is the second of three illustrations to a 1906 song by Clifford Bingham, set to music by Stanley Gordon. Various versions of these cards can be tracked down on the web, notably on e-bay. One version illustrates the original song, showing a “fisher boy” leaving his mother; the second shows a fishing smack wallowing in the waves under the Christ figure; the third depicts his mourning mother on a wharf to which a number of fishing boats are moored. The version to which Percy’s card belongs is adapted to wartime: the fisher boy is now a sailor lad in uniform, and the ship, as we see above, is a naval vessel; the wharf in the final card is empty but for the mother bent in grief.

(1) A brief description of Bamforth can be found on the Metropostcard.com website.

A copy of the sheet music is in the Library of Congress.

Listen to a 1912 recording of the song.

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”

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