Brackenfield’s Facinating WW1 Story features on ITV News

ITV News have featured the fascinating link between the Brackenfield School Choir’s winning performance at the Harrogate Festival and Felix Powell, the composer of one of the WW1 songs the choir sang, “Pack up your Troubles”. The Great Great Grandson of Felix Powell, Charlie is a Brackenfield Year 6 pupil and sang in the winning performance. The song was in fact written by Felix and his brother George and entered for a competition just after the start of the war for songwriters to come up with an inspiring marching song for the troops. The song won the competition which came with a 100 guineas prize. The additional prize was the opportunity to go to the front line and perform it to the troops. Perhaps not quite as appealing!

The song became very popular and by the end of the war even the German troops were singing it. After the war King George V sent a telegram congratulating the brothers on the song and thanking them.

Prime minister, Lloyd George asked Felix Powell to perform the song at large rallies of up to 75,000 people to boost morale amongst the poor, especially those families that had lost loved ones in the war.

Director of Music at Brackenfield, Helen Leaf was in fact unaware of the connection until Charlie came to see her during rehearsals. “To win the festival was very special but to know that one of our pupils was singing a song written by one of his ancestors in this the WW1 centenary year makes the performance so much more special.”

The ITV clip can be watched via this link and by using the password, warchoir. Enjoy!