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Posted by / 28-Mar-2018 04:23

When the world conflict started in 1914 Marie’s sweetheart went to the front and Marie obtained work in the Cafe De La Paix, in the Rue De La gare, at Armentieres.It was a quiet job, she recalled, until the Tommies came.Going back to 1915, three years before the Yanks entered the Great War, Armentieres was where British troops coming off the line went for R&R.Members of the British Army of India transformed “Skiboo,” (also known as “Snapoo”), a song dating back to the 1880s and the Boer Wars, into “Mademoiselle from Armentieres,” alternately known as “Two German Officers.” Another song known as “The Little Red Train” also is reputed to be a source for verses.I.s entered the French trenches, having its roots in an earlier song, “Mademoiselle from Armentieres,” which the song.These recordings of “Hinky Dinky Parley Voo” and “Mademoiselle from Armentieres” do not date date from the wartime period.The songwriting credit here belongs to “Trebor Rellim”…Robert Miller, spelled backwards.

“No, it was not the kiss,” she said, “it was about a bill–some money.” Sergeant “Red” Owlands, said now to be the manager of a cinema in London, was in Armentieres at the time, and like everybody else, heard of the slapping incident.“And it was a very nice song as it was first written,” Grandmother Marie explained.“But I’ve heard,” she added modestly, “that some unauthorized versions came along later.” Marie married Private Marceau of the French army when he got leave, and her daughter Pauline, now a mother, was born during the war.The Germans still have an enemy in “Mademoiselle from Armentieres,” and she is going back to the front, somehow, to be near the soldiers she loves.“Mademoiselle” today is Madame Marie Marceau and her face is lined with care, but she is going back to Armentieres to be near her grandson and her granddaughter and to those “So dear Tommees, for I love them all.” We chatted at a cafe in a village well behind the lines where she now lives and Marie told me again how she inspired the famouse war song.

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Here are some sample verses from “Skiboo,” in its WWI form: They came to an Inn on top of a rise, skiboo, skiboo A famous French Inn of stupendous size, skiboo, skiboo They saw a maiden all dimples and sighs The two together said, “Damn her eyes” Skiboo, skiboo, skiboodley boo, skidam, dam, dam That’s singer Line Renaud waiving, (a popularizer of a French translation of the English song, sometime in the last century) not the late Mdm. The statue depicts Marie held aloft on a tavern tray by four soldiers, none of whom are American.

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