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BOMBARDED album (2014)

The title may say it all to people in my home town, but for the benefit of everyone else, it's a collection of 15 songs about the First World War, of which 14 pertain to County Durham, 13 to Hartlepool and 12 to the German naval bombardment of the town in December 1914.

All the songs are new but one tune has been borrowed from a century ago, and some take the musical styles of the time. Obviously some are serious, but they're by no means all doom and gloom, with many of them being humorous or jovial.

The song titles may give a flavour of the album.

1 The Durham Pals

2 It's a Long Way to the Front Line

3 All Thanks to the War

4 I Know a Secret

5 What Was All That About?

6 Riding on the Top Deck of a Tramcar

7 Where's the Sub When You Need It?

8 Who Put That Lighthouse There?

9 Over By Christmas

10 It's a Long Way to the Headland

11 Remember Scarborough!

12 Hans Across the Sea

13 The Kaiser Demolished Our Grandstand

14 It's a Long Way to the Trenches

15 Sea-shells

Download the 'Bombarded' album (free)

The CD booklet explains each of the songs and its historical context


The Durham Pals

© 2014 Lol Moran

Ch  We're the Durham Pals, – and we're off to the war.
Although we're new to soldiering, we'll pick it up, we're sure.
We'll proudly leave our northern home, between the Tyne and Tees,
And make our mark, it'll be a lark, when we go overseas.

The country is in danger and it needs some men to fight.
As patriotic Englishmen we've all done what is right.
We have all enlisted, and our friends they've done the same.
We'll all be pals together, when we join the Kaiser's game.


The training isn't easy – climbing walls, and doing runs,
Long marches with a backpack, practising with guns.
Charging with your bayonet at a sack that's full of straw,
And hoping straw's the only thing that you will use it for.


We'll think of our fine county – while we are away,
And we will all look forward, to returning one fine day,
To march through the old city, with the flags all flying high,
But we won't give a single thought to the chance that we might die.



It's a Long Way to the Front Line

© 2014 Lol Moran (and Williams & Judge, © 1912)

It's a long way to the front line, it's a long way to go,
In the land that sent the monkey, a hundred years ago.
Goodbye to Saint Hilda's, farewell to the Heugh.
It's a long, long way down to the front line, but we'll be back soon enough.

All Thanks To The War

© 2014 Lol Moran

We're all so busy, all thanks to the war
The Borough Hall dances we have to ignore
No afternoon tea with Mrs Next Door
We just work hard to get through

We do the jobs that the men used to do
Climbing up ladders, or clearing the flue
Even collecting the tramcar fares too
We're working hard to get through

Our usual chores are as well, not instead
Look after the children and keep them well fed
Make sure they all say their prayers before bed
And say one for Dad to get through

There is no time to simply sit on a seat
The doorstep needs scrubbing, the mats must get beat
The brass must be polished, the front room stay neat
We're working hard to get through

Once it's all over and the men are back here
Perhaps before Christmas or in the New Year
While they are out drinking Cameron's beer
We'll still be working – working and working
Still working hard to get through

I Know a Secret

© 2014 Lol Moran

I know a secret, I can't pass it on.
The Germans are coming To shell us at dawn.
It mustn't get out That their codes have been cracked,
So I can't warn my men Before they're attacked.

Top brass decided to risk the attack
The targets aren't huge though defences are slack
And letting folks know would cause panic and fear
But may not save lives since our fleet's nowhere near

It would be treason to let someone hear
But my men and their families all live quite near
So all are in danger but they can't be told
And this information I'd rather not hold

All I can do is arrive on the day
For an early inspection, show the flag, as they say
And hope that my timing will give them a clue
That something is happening, that's all I can do.

I know a secret, I can't pass it on.
The Germans are coming To shell us at dawn.
It mustn't get out That their codes have been cracked,
So I can't warn my men Before they're attacked.

What Was All That About?

© 2014 Lol Moran

What was all that about? What's going on?
An early inspection, then he was gone.
He said almost nothing - except “Carry on”
Something is happening - but he's not letting on.

Perhaps his old lady and him had a row
And rather than face her he thought he'd come now.
Perhaps he just fancied a fry-up down here
But once he'd arrived, he went off the idea

Perhaps his peaked cap has been chewed by the cat
And he came before dawn so we'd not see that
Perhaps he just wants us to keep on our toes
As Jerry won't come any time that we chose

Perhaps he stayed up all night, out on the pop
So as he was passing he thought he would stop
Perhaps he knows Germans are not far away
And they're getting ready to attack us today

What was all that about? What's going on?
An early inspection, then he was gone.
He said almost nothing - except “Carry on”
Something is happening - but he's not letting on.

Riding On The Top Deck of a Tramcar

© 2014 Lol Moran

Riding on the top deck of a tramcar
What interesting sights you'll spot from there
You'll see people through their first-floor windows
Who think that you won't see them when they're bare
See the mess a garden wall is hiding
See bald patches men don't think they've got
Riding on the top deck of a tramcar
You can see the lot.

I went off to work on Wednesday morning
Caught the tram a little after eight
Went up to the top deck for a smoke there
Thought that I was going to be late
As the tram, it rattled out of Seaton
Off to Church Street, just two miles away
I saw what looked just like like a flash of lightning
Not far off, in the bay.

The flash was shortly followed by a loud boom
Which made us think that rain would soon come down
Another flash, another boom then followed
Again over the sea and near the town
No, this wasn't thunder, it was gunfire
Coming from three ships out in the bay
They were firing shells off at the headland
The war's come here today.

The conductor came to find out what was happening
While shells were flying thick and fast both ways.
As plumes of smoke were rising on the Headland
The driver stopped the tramcar, just in case.
Clouds of smoke were covering the bay now
When up above us passed a German shell,
Which was heading for the steelworks right beside us.
We got off and ran like hell!

Riding on the top deck of a tramcar
What interesting sights you'll spot from there
Watch a German shell fly to the Headland
Hear it as it whistles through the air
See the smoke then rising from the ruins
Hear the noise as buildings start to fall
Riding on the top deck of a tramcar
You can see it all.

Where's The Sub When You Need It?

© 2014 Lol Moran

Ch   Where's the sub when you need it, where's the bloody thing at.
It's still back in the harbour. What is the use of that?
It should be firing torpedoes, that's what the bloody thing's for.
Not sitting there in the harbour, but giving the Kaiser what for.

We're surrounded by warships: the finest the Navy has got
But alas the senior service hasn't been helping a lot,
They didn't spot the three cruisers, 'til they were under their nose,
And now's a bit late to be calling the sub in to deal with those.


At last the sub is arriving, the crew must have finished their tea,
Now they're avoiding the shelling by diving under the sea.
And now they can't launch a torpedo, until they come up once more.
Which means the bloody sub's useless. What did they bring it here for?


Now the Germans are leaving, they're going back to their base
The Navy couldn't protect us. That was a bloody disgrace.
Now the sub is returning, it never got in a shot.
And all it achieved in the action amounted to hardly a lot.


Who Put That Lighthouse There?

© 2014 Lol Moran

Ch   Who put that lighthouse there?
Which clod built it that way?
Who put that lighthouse there?
It just gets in the way.
Couldn't they have set it up
Behind our six-inch guns?
Who put that lighthouse there?
It's sheltering the Huns.

How come these people do the stupid things they do?
Building a lighthouse that blocks the gunners' view.
If we aim for the target we'll smash the lamp to bits.
But Fritz knows we won't do that so in its shadow sits.


Why don't they think the problems through? Why don't they realise
We've got only six-inch guns – Theirs are twice the size
We can get the range all right but can't do them much harm.
For all the good it's doing this gun could be sat in Yarm.


Over By Christmas

© 2014 Lol Moran

Theophilus Jones was from West Hartlepool
He worked in Leicestershire - ran his own school
Your country needs you, Lord Kitchener said
So he volunteered as a soldier instead

He went back to his home county once more
Where the Durham Light Infantry trained him for war
Then he was posted to guard some big guns
On Hartlepool's Headland – and far from the Huns.

Ch   Over by Christmas, said all the top men
Give the Kaiser a black eye, then back home again
Over by Christmas, what a party there'd be
We thought we were safe this side of the North Sea

Young Hilda Horsley was just seventeen
The lads of her age on enlisting were keen
They went with the Durhams to France, full of cheer
While the women all worried, and stayed over here

But the lads would soon come back, and march up Northgate
No-one gave a thought to a different fate
The lads out in France might have known otherwise
But in the town that would remain a surprise


Just four months after the lads had signed on
On December the sixteenth, just after the dawn
As the mist cleared, three ships came in view
And big guns rained shells on the town they all knew

Theo was killed by the very first shell
And, moments later, young Hilda as well
A thousand and more shells, in less than an hour
Killed nearly a hundred, and hurt many more


Fishermen know danger, and soldiers as well
But mothers and children now learned war was hell
As shells flew at them from out on the waves
Leaving in Hartlepool many new graves

Ch   It wasn't over by Christmas, or the one after that,
There'd be four Christmases in a tin hat
Not over by Christmas, no party there'd be
After the Kaiser's guns crossed the North Sea

It's a Long Way to the Headland

© 2014 Lol Moran (and Williams & Judge, © 1912)

It's a long way to the Headland from North Germany
But Seydlitz, Moltke, and Blücher all crossed the cold North Sea
Arriving early morning, by nine they'd turned and run
They came a long, long way to the Headland, bringing death from a gun.

Remember Scarborough

© 2014 Lol Moran

The Germans have shelled English towns on the coast
The twin towns of Hartlepool suffered the most
Whitby and Scarborough likewise were hit
We think we can make propaganda of it.

The Germans perhaps thought their targets were fair
Radio masts, shipyards, and docks were all there
But by killing civilians in their native land
The Germans have just played right into our hands

Ch   Remember Scarborough! That infamous dawn
-When helpless mothers and children forlorn
Died in the barbarous shelling raid wrought
On that most genteel English seaside resort
You now know what evil The Kaiser can do
So all men of Britain we say unto you
Avenge Scarborough's folk, killed in that cruel way
By enlisting for King and for country today

The story is complex, we'll slim it all down
We should just focus on only one town
Scarborough is posh and by far the best known
So we'll just use that, leave the others alone

Think of a number for those who have died
SNo-one will notice if it seems a bit hig
But we think we can make sure recruitment improves
Remember Scarborough! is the slogan we'll use


Hans Across the Sea

© 2014 Lol Moran

Ch   Hans across the sea, join Hans across the sea
In the Kaiser's Navy, how happy you will be
Cross the German Ocean, shell a town or three
Join the Kaiser's Navy, that's the life for me.

We went off to England, a few months into war
As the morning mist cleared Saint Hilda's Church we saw
And all around it Hartlepool had come into our view
And fifty minutes later we had shelled it black and blue.


Our mates went off to Scarborough while we'd gone up north
Where they lobbed some shells in for all that they were worth
They lobbed some more at Whitby while passing on their way
Saint Hilda's abbey copped one – it was not her day!


The Kaiser Demolished Our Grandstand

© 2014 Lol Moran

The Kaiser sent warships to shell us
He then sent a Zeppelin as well
To drop bombs from height in the black of the night
But damage was slight where they fell
The next Zeppelin sent by the Kaiser
It dropped bombs all over the town
But a pilot's good aim, got it shot down in flame
When it went and knocked our grandstand down

The Kaiser demolished our grandstand
It was our joy and our pride
'Til a Zeppelin crew over Hartlepool flew
And chucked some bombs over the side
But we'll build a temp'rary grandstand
And a proper one, after the war
It may not be strong, but we won't need it long
And the Kaiser will pay, we are sure

The wreckage was there in the morning
Timbers and splinters all round
Repair wasn't on so it quickly was gone
We were left with a hole in the ground
But we were in need of a grandstand
So a stop-gap design was drawn out
Constructed of wood, though it may not look good
Compensation would mean we'd pay nowt

We were yet to receive compensation
Yet the grandstand got built as we'd planned
But hard times came round, and we never found
The finance for something more grand
So it lasted and lasted for decades
More tatty and warped with each year
And bits would fall off, if the fans did but cough
So only the brave would go near

Then after a fire in Bradford
The blame fell on grandstands of wood
So ours was condemned, and facing its end
Several years after it should.
Then despite our shortage of money
We paid a contractor a fee
A few hundred pound, to knock our stand down,
Which the Kaiser had once done for free

The Kaiser demolished our grandstand
It was our joy and our pride
But that airship raid left us rather dismayed
Even more when our claim was denied
We built just the temp'rary grandstand
Which for sixty-six years, stood alone
Contractors' men and not bombs caused its end
But it would have come down on its own

It's a Long Way to the Trenches

© 2014 Lol Moran (and Williams & Judge, © 1912)

It's a long way to the Trenches, it's a long way to go
The soldiers and the generals they're all in France you know
It's a long way to the Trenches, but the troops are there on their own
And a long, long way back are the generals, giving orders by phone.


© 2014 Lol Moran

We used to look for seashells
We would collect - seashells
Down by the piers - seashells - Seashells

We took them home - seashells
Threw some away - seashells
Laid them in rows - seashells - Seashells

Lying there on the shore, the seashells
Lying there in rock pools, the seashells
Lying there on the sand, the seashells - Seashells

When we'd stopped looking for seashells
Three big ships came, firing sea shells
Over the piers - sea shells - Sea shells

They hit our homes - sea shells
Some passed away - sea shells
We laid them in rows - sea shells - Sea shells

Flying over the shore, the sea shells
Flying over rock pools, the sea shells
Flying over the sand, the sea shells - Sea shells

Children survived - sea shells
They still collect - seashells
Down by the piers - seashells – Sea shells

They take them home - seashells
Throw some away - seashells
Lay them in rows - seashells – Seashells

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