A Hundred Years

A song that grew from looking through my Grandfather’s photographs and piecing together part remembered conversation with him and my older brother. He wasn’t allowed to talk to us about his time in the army so these are bits he “got away with” telling us (the sergeant once asked if anyone could play the piano etc!) The video is made from some of his photos and the men named in the song are the only ones named in his personal photos i.e. not the official regimental ones.

A Hundred Years
V 1 1926 in a foreign land we’re marching through the pass
The pipes and drums the baggage train your bundle and your pack
All those place names that seemed so strange familiar now I know
I see them from a hundred years ago

Chorus A hundred years ago, we were walking tall and fine
A hundred years ago, all our stories lost in time

V 2 The bungalow across the square where the company resides
No officers or NCO’s just “other ranks” inside
Few luxuries or niceties but spic and span to show
The way we were a hundred years ago


V 3 Don’t put your hand up when the sergeant asks “can anyone ride a bike?”
The piano player’s still peeling spuds, he’s been there half the night
Doesn’t matter what the question was, you raised your hand and so
You volunteered a hundred years ago


V 4 Johnson and Jennings, Hamilton and Field
McGinn and Jenkins, Sammy Cane and me
Hinshaw works the water pump, we cool off ‘neath its flow
We were brothers then a hundred years ago


V 5 In ’31 when we came home, left the heat and dust behind
On the mighty ship across the seas ‘til England’s shore we spied
Didn’t know of the war to come, how little time to go
Couldn’t see that far a hundred years ago


V 6 The years rolled by and life moved on we somehow all lost touch
Lived our lives from day to day, no one asked for much
We’ve now all passed beyond the veil, some went up and some below
Now we all dream of a hundred years ago

Chorus x2


  1. Andy, that was as an ear and eye opener for me, well told and with the chorus to keep it all together. Just this thought: it only works as a childhood memory because of your explanation, not in the song iteself (unless I’m missing something). I’m not suggesting a re-write but maybe a thought for the future would be to have a final verse that makes it clear that it was stories told to you when you were a child. That would also give the song a final twist that can really work sometimes.

  2. I’ve often looked at old pictures from my grandparents and wondered what the story was? Without anyone left to answer my questions, the real story is left to my imagination. I love your song and your very human perspective. It’s a great song. You should be proud of it!