[Sheet music] Coming Home

Accession Number RC11256
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 771
Collection type Published Collection
Measurement Overall: 36 cm x 26 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Willeby, Charles
Eardley-Wilmot, May
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1914
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Attached digital images, content and recording are protected by copyright. It is reproduced here for research and study only. If you wish to use or quote from this recording and images, please contact the Memorial’s Research Centre via info@awm.gov.au or 02 6243 4315.

Sheet music for the song titled, 'Coming Home', with lyrics written by May Eardley-Wilmot and music composed by Charles Willeby. This copy of the song is for piano and voice in the key of G, and was published by The John Church Co. Inc. of Cincinnati, New York and London. The cover of this copy features a print of a rural scene of a road stretching between paddocks, flanked on one side by a row of trees. The back page features a list of 'new and standard songs and ballads' available from the John Church company with the page inside the back cover, blank without any content.

The lyrics of this song talk about the joy and memories associated with returning home to loved ones. The song also includes suggestions of forgetting sorrow until tomorrow.

May Eardley-Wilmot was a British lyricist who served as a nurse during the First World War with the British Red Cross at 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth. She was the eldest daughter of Rear Admiral Sir Sydney Marow Eardley-Wilmot and was educated both at home and in Heidleberg, Germany. She was involved in the Performing Rights Society and was known as a popular lyricist, a leader in community singing and also published a book of poetry. Some of her other most well-known songs include 'Little grey home in the west'.

Charles Willeby was a British composer whose songs were popular during the early twentieth century and he also wrote a biography about the classical composer Frederic Chopin and another work titled 'Masters of English music', first published in 1893. The Australian contralto singer, Ada Crossley, drew attention to Willeby's compositions during an interview published in Brisbane newspaper, The Queenslander, on 5 January 1901. During this interview, Crossley commented, in reference to offers of new songs, 'One composer, whose work is new to me, has lately produced some songs - Mr Charles Willeby.'

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 song titled, 'Coming Home', was amongst the pieces of music transferred from the Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery (RBAA) to 2nd Training Brigade at Codford according to a list attached to a letter written by the Commanding Officer of RBAA on 18 March 1919.

The sentiments expressed in this song lent themselves to welcome home receptions for Australians returning from the war and 'Coming Home', featured in many events held for this purpose during 1918. The opening lyrics were referenced as the sentiment that was expected when 800 Anzacs returned to Australia in November 1918 and introduced much discussion about how these men would be welcomed home. 'Coming Home' was referred to as a suitable song for the type of receptions that should be accorded the returning men, as it was one to 'touch the heart and in which all can join'. Earlier in 1918, the song was remembered by a writer when returned soldiers visited the Base Hospital in Melbourne before catching trains home and evoked the description, 'There is a tenderness in the words, and a sweetness in the music which finds a welcome in all our hearts.'