Picking this song up from Roy Harris (the East Midlander rather than the American composer!!), Jon once again adds a concertina to this song which, as he points out is, “A sentiment that is unlikely to be anything other than current and timeless unfortunately.” Roy was born in 1933 and did National service after WWII as well as serving in the RAF in the 50s. You can find Roy’s version on the Fellside CD The Rambling Soldier, where it’s described as a “heartfelt longing for peace.” His affinity is clearly with the rank and file experience down the ages and he highlights the natural ambivalence present in their songs and stories. The notes in the CD point to the first line of the chorus “Oh, I wish that the wars were all over,” as appearing on many popular prints in the late 18th Century. The reference to Flanders dates this either to the Seven Years War of 1756-63 or to a later conflict in 1793. There’s an interesting Mudcat thread here that has a few alternatives lyrically, although your have to scroll down the thread to get to version Jon is singing.
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