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Lighter Origins: I've Got Sixpence, Jolly, Jolly Sixpence (52* d) RE: Origins: I've Got Sixpence, Jolly, Jolly Sixpence 15 Jul 20


David Westheimer was an American B-24 crewman shot down and captured by the Italian Air Force near Salerno in 1942. He and other captured American fliers were eventually taken to a POW "camp near Rome.

As Westheimer wrote in his 1992 memoir, Sitting It Out:

"That night we heard [the 'RAF types'] talking in the next room. We tried talking to them through the wall but they wouldn’t answer until Barnes and I started singing ‘Sixpence.’

        ‘I’ve got sixpence, jolly, jolly, sixpence,
        I’ve got sixpence, to last me all my life.’

        "They joined in. That’s when I learned they’d taught us the wrong words at preflight. We’d sung, ‘I’ve got no pence to lend and no pence to spend and no pence to send home to my wife.’ The RAF types sang, ‘I’ve got fuck all to lend and fuck all to spend and fuck all to send home to my wife.' We adapted handily to their version."

Westheimer's 1964 adventure novel Von Ryan's Express, was turned into a motion picture starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard in 1965.

The song wasn't in it.


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