[Sheet music] Laddie in khaki: (The girl who waits at home)

Accession Number RC10948
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 463
Collection type Published Collection
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Novello, Ivor
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Recording provided for personal, non-commercial and commemorative use. Permission from copyright holder must be sought for commercial use. Attached digital images provided for personal non-commercial use

Sheet music for the song titled 'Laddie in Khaki (The Girl Who Always waits at home)' written and composed by Ivor Novello. The lyrics of this song talk about a girl who is waiting for her soldier to come home and assures him that she will be waiting for his return.

This copy was published under special arrangement with the music publishers Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew and sold for the price of 2/-. Inside the front cover are the complete, typed lyrics for the song. On the back page is a song titled "When the Great Day Comes".

Born as David Ivor Davies, Ivor Novello was the only son of Madame Clara Novello Davies. His mother was a British singer and composer who had settled as a teacher in New York CIty. She was also the conductor of the the Royal Welsh Ladies' Choir and the winner of several choral singing competitions. Novello had begun singing at a very early age. One story reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, indicates he performed 'Hear Ye, Israel' and 'Poor Wandering One', at the age of 6, for the British contralto Clara Butt. Three years later he won a singing scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was the first solo boy for five years. His first song, 'Spring of the Year', was performed by the American high soprano Evangeline Florence at Royal Albert Hall, London, when he was 15. Novello was 21 years old when he wrote the melody for 'Keep the home fires burning', which according to Novello, took only 10 minutes to write.

Towards the bottom of this page is a sound recording of this sheet music, or a parody, that was created as part of the Music and the First World War project. More information about this recording, including names of the performers, can be found on the catalogue record for the sound recording. A link to the catalogue record for the sound recording can be found at the bottom of this page, under the heading ‘Related objects’ where it can be identified with the prefix [sound recording].

History / Summary

The first mentions of this song in Australian newspapers were numerous advertisements for the sheet music in the Adelaide Advertiser between January and March 1916.

The song ‘Laddie in Khaki’ was popular with professional performers and community bands. The first public performance of this song in Australia during the First World War period appears to be by Miss Maxine Perdrix at Queen’s Hall, Adelaide, on 15 April 1916. This was one of three songs that she performed during her appearance. She also performed this song with the Adelaide Tramways Military Band at a concert on 7 February 1917. Miss Carrie Lanceley, a soprano who had returned to Australia after 9 years abroad, was expected to perform in Brisbane from 2 August 1916. She was reported in The Telegraph newspaper, to have the intention of ‘introducing many new songs to Brisbane’ with one of these titles being ‘Laddie in Khaki’. A report in The Brisbane Courier of her performance at the opening concert in Brisbane mentioned that she performed this song ‘with an interpolated top note at the finish which rather detracted from its simple appeal. The Towers Concert Band performed at the rotunda in Lissner Park, Charters Towers, Queensland, on 31 December 1916. The conductor, J M Clark, specially arranged the song ‘Laddie in Khaki’ for brass band so that it could be performed during this concert. This song was described by The Evening Telegraph newspaper as ‘Ivor Novello’s pretty little song’.

This was a popular songs at events organised to raise money for support organisations and causes related to the war effort in Australia during the First World War. A lantern and cinematograph lecture was held in Ballarat during April 1916 to raise money for the War Relief Fund. The evening included a musical program and dance which included a performance of ‘Laddie in Khaki’ by Mrs Nunn. The Weston Girls’ Patriotic League organised a concert at Newcastle, New South Wales, to raise money for the 34th Battalion Comforts Fund on 10 July 1916. The Cessnock Dandies performed two songs during the concert and one of these was ‘Laddie in Khaki’. A concert was held at Elliott, Tasmania, to raise money for the Red Cross on 19 August 1916. The song ‘Laddie in Khaki’ was performed during the program by Miss Alexander. A concert was given at Montville, Queensland, on 21 March 1917 to raise money for the Red Cross. The concert was organised by Miss Chancellor and her students. Sergeant Heywood, a local returned soldier also attended the event and a welcome home was tendered during the evening. Miss Daisy Butt performed ‘Laddie in Khaki’ as part of the musical entertainment during the evening and received an encore for her performance. At Myrtle Creek, 45 pounds were raised for the Patriotic Fund during June 1917 as the result of a concert and dance organised by the headmaster of the local school, Miss Savage. Miss G Dole performed ‘Laddie in Khaki’ at this concert. On 26 June 1917, a concert was held in Brisbane to raise money to furnish a residential club for returned soldiers and sailors with just over five pounds collected during the evening. Miss Mollie Wheeler, reported to be ‘a gifted vocalist’ in The Telegraph, performed ‘Laddie in Khaki’.
At Port Fairy, Victoria, over 70 pounds was raised for the Red Cross and the YMCA during activities connected with a recruitment drive. The associated events commenced on 7 September 1917. A concert was held the following evening, which included performances by the visiting Military Band and a performance of ‘Laddie in Khaki’ by Lieutenant Fredman.

This was also a popular song during events organised to farewell and welcome home Australian service personnel during the First World War period. A concert was held in the Mount Barker area of South Australia on 20 June 1916 which followed a welcome home reception for two returned soldiers – Private Worthley and Private Hammond. Miss D Friebe performed ‘Laddie in Khaki’ as part of the musical program with her performance described in the local newspaper as causing ‘quite a sensation’ and her voice ‘was heard to advantage and penetrated to the furthest parts of the hall’. Miss Winser sang ‘Laddie in Khaki’ as part of the musical entertainment preceding the presentation of medals during a reception given for returned soldiers from the Hay district on 23 February 1917. She received an encore for her performance so sang part of the song again in response. On 20 April 1917, a welcome home reception was tendered at St Arnaud, Victoria, to local returned soldier Private J Sutherland who had been wounded in France. Miss L Lampough performed ‘Laddie in Khaki’ as part of the entertainment that followed the evening’s formalities.

Anzac Day commemoration events also incorporated this song into musical programs. At an Anzac Day concert held in Sydney on 25 April 1917, it was reported that returned soldiers cheered in response to a performance of ‘Laddie in Khaki’ by Miss Carrie Lanceley. The same report added that her performance ‘mightily caught the house’. Lieutenant J Thompson, who had served at Gallipoli, predicted in his address during the evening, that there would be many pilgrimages to Gallipoli ‘to lay flowers upon the graves of the fallen’. Anzac Day in Grenfell during 1917 featured two events, one during the morning and another during the evening. The evening event was described as very well attended with some of the locals who had served with the Australian Imperial Force attending. An honour roll for local soldiers who had enlisted and died during the Gallipoli campaign was also unveiled during the evening. Mrs Potts performed ‘Laddie in Khaki’ during the evening as part of the musical program. Like Grenfell, the town of Longreach in Queensland, also marked Anzac Day in 1917 with events in the morning and in the evening. During the evening event, a collections was made to contribute to the fund charged with maintaining Australian graves at Gallipoli. Mr Fred Affoo sang ‘Laddie in Khaki’ as part of the program.