Posted by James Briggs on January 11, 2002
In Reply to: Re: "Old soldiers never die ..." posted by James Briggs on January 11, 2002
: : : : : I have long been wondering about the origin of the often-used phrase "old ... never die; they just".
: : : : : In my school, there used to be an inscription saying "old teachers never die; they just lose their class".
: : : : : Would anyone know the origin of this phrase ? Did anyone famous utter it for the first time ?
: : : : : Thanks in advance for any help,
: : : : : D. Becker
: : : : Back in the early 1900s in Britain there was a phrase - still heard from time to time - 'old soldiers never die, they just fade away'. This may have come from a music hall song, but I'm far from sure. Just a suggestion as to a possible origin.
: : : From Eric Partridge's "Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British":
: : : "'old soldiers never die: they simply fade away'
has been extracted from the British Army's C20 parody of the song 'Kind Thoughts
Can Never Die' and the tune adopted from it . . . This immortal ditty appeared
in John Brophy and Eric Partridge, 'Songs and Slang of the British Soldier: 1914-1918,'
1930, and has been preserved in 'The Long Trail,' lamentably out of print in Britain,
but to be reprinted in the US.
: : : It was 'given its first familiarity in US in a speech by General MacArthur on his recall from Korea; still not forgotten' (Prof. John W. Clark, 1977)."
: : The academic version was attributed to a Harvard dean in 1960-61, when alumnus John Kennedy was raiding Harvard for people to appoint to his government: "Old deans never die, they just lose their faculties."
: For music and lyrics - but not origin - click on link below
Link didn't work first time! http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/lookup.cgi?ti=OLDSOLDR&tt=HPPYLAND