[Sheet music] The Kaiser's boast

Accession Number RC11162
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 677
Collection type Published Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Measurement Overall - closed: 35.8 cm x 25.5 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Hewitt, Stanley David
Place made Australia
Date made c 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Sheet music for the song titled 'The Kaiser's Boast', written and composed by Sergeant Stanley David Hewitt. Hewitt was an Australian composer who served during the First World War. The song was first published in March 1916.

The cover of the music features a photograph of the composer in uniform. A caption on the cover notes "The composer, Sergeant Hewitt, is a Returned Wounded Soldier, having been shot right through one lung. Though suffering greatly through hemorrhage and weakness, he is independently handling his own clever composition throughout Victoria." The back cover of this piece music is blank and contains no advertisements or advertising previews of other music.

The Australian actress and singer, Dorothy Brunton, describing it as a 'dandy song' and requested permission to perform the song at fundraising events during the First World War period soon after it was first published. One report of the song soon after it was published appeared in The Bendigo Independent on 16 March 1916 where it reported that it was based on 'patriotic lines' and 'though not strikingly original, the music is pleasing, and the sentiment good'. The report continued to say that there was 'an attractive swing in the refrain'.

Stanley David Hewitt served with the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion from August 1914 to May 1915, before being discharged and repatriated for medical reasons.

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 public performance of this song in Australia appears to have been given by Hewitt himself at a lecture of the landing on Gallipoli and the battle of Lone Pine at Centennial Hall, Brisbane, on Tuesday 3 July 1917. A repeat performance of the lecture was given at Albert Hall, Brisbane on 28 July 1917 with this song performed by Mr J D Abrahams during the evening. Hewitt often gave this lecture at events where this song was performed, by himself or others, during 1916. One of the most notable occurred at Bairnsdale, Victoria, on 15 October 1916 where it was noted that he was a Gippslander and the Bairnsdale Boys’ Band played this song, which was described as a ‘patriotic band march’.

The song was also popular at fundraising events held during the First World War. The Nandaly Red Cross Society was officially established with a concert in the Nandaly State School, Victoria on 14 June 1916. During the evening, this song was performed by Miss Horsley. A large number of people attended a patriotic concert at McKenzie Creek Hall, Victoria during July 1916 to raise money for the State School Patriotic Fund. The song was described as an action song in the report of the concert and was performed by the ‘school boys’. Similarly, the Balpool branch of the Red Cross, in New South Wales, organised a concert and dance to raise money for the sick and wounded on 16 July 1916 where the song was performed by Mr O’Donnell. At Sea Lake, Victoria, a concert was held on 11 July 1917 to raise money for the YMCA Field Service Fund where ‘The Kaiser’s Boast’ was performed by Mr B Fly and Mr F A Howard. A total of 23 pounds was raised during the event.

This was also a popular song during the First World War at other concerts in Australia during this period. The Darlinghurst Concert Band performed this song as a march at two concerts on Sunday 30 June 1916. The first was at Centennial Park, Sydney and the second held at Coogee Beach, Sydney. A chorus performed the song at St Mark’s Sunday School concert in Bendigo, Victoria on 30 August 1916.

Welcome home events for soldiers also featured this song. One such occasion was the reception for returned soldiers, Sergeant J Pettigrew, Private M J Hannan, Private L Macfarland and Private S Wasson on 21 July 1918. The reception was held at the Congupua Public Hall, Victoria, with an encore performance of ‘The Kaiser’s Boast’ provided by Master Cyril Matthews.