I'll Make a Man of You

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"I'll Make a Man of You"
Composer(s)Arthur Wimperis
Lyricist(s)Herman Finck

"I'll Make a Man of You" is a World War I recruiting song that was sung across Britain in hopes of rallying young men to enlist in the military. It is sung from a flirtatious young woman's perspective of how she dates military men in order to turn them into better soldiers.[1] It was written and composed by Arthur Wimperis and Herman Finck in 1914. The song was also showcased in Frank Lloyd's Cavalcade, and in the musical and film Oh, What a Lovely War!.[2]

This song is well known for spawning numerous obscene parody versions which were performed in music halls during World War I and World War II, and are often still sung by serving soldiers today.[3] One of the most notable of these parodies was "I don't want to join the Army",[4][5][6] a sanitized version of which also featured in Oh, What a Lovely War!.[7]


The Army and the Navy need attention
The outlook isn't healthy you'll admit
But I've a perfect dream of a new recruiting scheme
Which I really think is absolutely it
If only other girls would do as I do
I believe that we could manage it alone
For I turn all suitors from me, but the Sailor and the Tommy
I've an Army and a Navy of my own.

On Sunday I walk out with a Soldier
Monday I'm taken by a Tar
Tuesday I'm out with a baby Boy Scout
On Wednesday a Hussar
On Thursday I gang out wi' a Scottie
On Friday the Captain of the crew
But on Saturday I'm willing if you'll only take the shilling
To make a man of any one of you.

I teach the tenderfoot to face the powder
That gives an added lustre to my skin
And I show the raw recruit how to give a chaste salute
So when I'm presenting arms, he's falling in
It makes you almost proud to be a woman
When you make a strapping soldier of a kid
And he says, "You put me through it and I didn't want to do it
But you went and made me love you, so I did!"

On Sunday I walk out with a Bosun
On Monday a Rifleman in green
On Tuesday I choose a Sub in the Blues
On Wednesday a Marine
On Thursday a Terrier from Tooting
On Friday a Midshipman or two
But on Saturday I'm willing if you'll only take the shilling
To make a man of any one of you![2]


  1. ^ Pegler, Martin (2014). Soldier's Songs and Slang of the Great War. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. pp. 252–253.
  2. ^ a b Priddle, Mel. "I'll Make a Man of You". International Lyrics Playground. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  3. ^ Joseph, Boskin (2011). Corporal Boskin's cold Cold War : a comical journey (1st ed.). Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0815650508. OCLC 956998368.
  4. ^ Cook, Tim (1971). The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians survived the Great War. Toronto, Ontario. ISBN 9780735235274. OCLC 1053623628.
  5. ^ Ferguson, John, ed. (1972). War and the Creative Arts. Macmillan International Higher Education. p. 258. ISBN 9781349154906.
  6. ^ Tristan, Jones (2014). Ice!. Open Road Media. ISBN 9781497603578. OCLC 966108123.
  7. ^ Wolf, Matt (1998-09-07). "Oh What a Lovely War". Variety. Retrieved 2018-12-02.