[Sheet music] Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag

Accession Number RC10923.009
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 438
Collection type Published Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Measurement Overall: 26 x 34 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Powell, Felix Lloyd
Powell, George Henry
Place made United Kingdom, United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

Sheet music for the song titled, 'Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag', with lyrics written by Geoge Asaf (pseudoym of George Henry Powell) and msuic composed by his older brother, Felix Lloyd Powell. The lyrics advise listeners to smile instead of worrying and question the wisdom of doing the latter. An alternative reference to the title of the song is 'Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag and smile, smile, smile'. This is a First World War marching song and was submitted to a competition organised by Francis Day and Hunter, music publishers, to find the best marching tune. it was awarded the first prize sum of 100 guineas.

This is the 1401st copy of the song and was referred to as the sixpenny edition. It has been published in the key of G Major and is part of a compilation titled, 'Australian YMCA Songs Volume II'. Inside the front cover of this copy, are excerpts from three songs, added by the publisher for advertising purposes: 'Taffy's got his Jennie in Glamorgan' written and composed by Tony Lloyd and Bert Lee; 'When you're a long, long way from home', written by Sam M Lewis and composed by G W Meyer; and 'It's a grand sight to see them going away', written and composed by Frank Leo. The back page features the titles and contents of four of Francis, Day & Hunter's shilling books: '35th song annual'; '36th song annual'; '35th dance and piano album'; and '36th dance and piano album'.

According to choirmaster Gareth Malone, the song could attribute its success to 'simplicity. It's written in G major, which can be played on a wide range of instruments relatively easily.' Malone also mentioned that there were words in the first two lines that soldiers immediately connected with. When the news was recieved that the song had won first prize, it is reported that Felix mentioned that they added the song into their show at Southampton and 'were as amused as we were delighted to hear thousands of troops singing it en route for the docks'. Over time, the two brothers became aware of how the song was being used during the First World War.

George Henry Powell and Felix Lloyd Powell were brothers from the Welsh town of St Asaph. They were both educated at St Asaph Cathedral where George was a chorister and Felix was an organist at the cathedral. They were music hall stars before 'Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag', became a hit during the First World War. George was a pacifist and Felix served as a staff sergeant during the First World War. After the war, the brothers operated a theatre and newspaper in Sussex. Felix served with the Home Guard during the Second World War. There are reports that George went on to become a baker and confectioner. A historic plaque marks the house where they were born in St Asaph, Wales.

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].