‘We went out singing, but we didn’t sing for long’

Stephen Spender records in his Journal :

Yesterday morning while I was waiting for a bus, some soldiers passed down the road singing ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’:
An unshaved and very ragged old tramp wearing the ribbons of several medals so loosely attached to his coat that they were almost falling off, said to me,

‘They’re singing now, but they won’t be singing when they come back. Hearing ‘em sing reminds me of when I went out to fight in them trenches. We went out singing, but we didn’t sing for long.’ “

See Stephen Spender: Journals 1939-1983

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Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: