[Digitised sheet music] Somewhere in Palestine

Accession Number RCDIG0001307
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 202
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Object type Sheet Music
Physical description 6 Image/s captured
Maker Wallace, Peter John Charles
Place made Australia
Date made 1919
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Attached digital images are protected by copyright and are provided here for research and study purposes. For further use, please contact the Memorial.

This song was written in 1919, and features a studio portrait of composer of the piece in uniform, and the dedication ‘Respectfully dedicated to the memory of brave men who have gone West’ on the front cover. The song was written by Warrant Officer Peter John Charles Wallace, who served as a drill instructor prior to the outbreak of the First World War. During 1917 he was stationed at Benalla for 6 months, where he helped the Red Cross and assisted in raising funds for the purchase of a piano for the Drill Hall. He returned to Melbourne in September 1917 to assist with camp duties.

‘Somewhere in Palestine’ tells the story of a mother who lost three sons in the First World War, and continues with the theme of remembering those who did not return home, particularly those who served in Palestine. The Gippsland Times marketed the work as a peace song by ‘an old Gippslander’ in advertisements during November and December 1919, selling for an advertised price of 2/- by J. Cullinan & Sons at Sale.

History / Summary

The sheet music for the song 'Somewhere in Palestine' was advertised in The Gippsland Times during late 1919. The phrase 'Somewhere in Palestine' often appeared in Australian newspapers during the First World War as well as in letters sent home by those who volunteered. One of these was Private Maurice McConachie, who served with the Light Horse Field Ambulance. In a letter dated 17 March 1918 from 'somewhere in Palestine' and published by The Telegraph, Brisbane several months later, McConachie remarked 'I am making up for lost time with the piano down here, and am tented with a chap who does a fair amount of singing...we do not get a chance of much concert work, but spend a good deal of our time during the day at the YMCA or the Soldiers' Club in Ismailia.' Likewise, in a letter attributed to Lieutenant Frank Eric Throssell from 1917, the phrase 'Somewhere in Palestine' preceded a description of 'Green fields, fine barley crops, and the wild flowers just glorious.'

The sentiments of this song were expressed in memorial notices published in Australian newspapers for two soldiers who died during the First World War, with notices that used the phrase 'Somewhere in Palestine he is sleeping'. The first of these was written in honour of Trooper Richard Baxter Gould, who died of wounds on 2 April 1918, with another written in memory of Trooper Frederick William Paterson, published on 14 May 1918.