Preacher Billy

The jolly lyrics of Kaiser Billy (song and dance, words and music (both notations) by Ivan Mills, 1916) are both belligerent, planted in fantasy, and, well, not very good :


We are the jolly boys to conquer the Huns.

We are the friends of brave Belgium and France

Oh! Kaiser Billy, little chap, you’ve made a bloomin’ mess

You’ll regret it a thousand times we will guess

But as you want to fight try the strength and might

Of the gallant Sons of Old Britannia! Oh!


Though his big helmet and moustache are awfully spik’d

He’ll not escape before he’s thinly slic’d

Oh! Billy, pity you have shown yourself such silly fool   [sic]

You’d be quite a gentleman if taught in British school   [sic again]

But as you are a Hun and we’re out for a jolly good fun   [still sic]

We’ll cut you up and make you German sausage! Oh!


And later:

We will march ahead till we’re right in Palace Square

We will kick Attila from his grand armchair


But then:

Oh! Preacher Billy what on earth your sermon will be then

We will gladly join you in your last Amen!


And all the world will praise the Boys of British race

For clearing out this scamp from God’s creation. Oh!


The most interesting thing about this is the footnote, which states ‘The Kaiser is a recognised preacher of the Gospel’. This matches a Punch cartoon from 9 September 1914:


Christopher Clarke’s review of John Röhl’s 2015 book on the Kaiser, Wilhelm II: Into the Abyss of War and Exile, 1900-41, mentions him preaching (, and Lamar Cecil’s Wilhelm II: Emperor and exile, 1900-1941 (1996, p52-55) shows his keen interest in religion. However, we would be keen to find out more. Any links?



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