For D-Day, Two survivors sing a WWII foxhole song …

Bill and Babe

Bill and Babe

Two of the real life Band of Brothers, best friends Wild Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron, sing “Mares Eat Oats.”  {My own mother sang this so often, it was impossible NOT to learn the song!]

William J. Guarnere (April 28th 1923 – March 8th 2014) and Edward James “Babe” Heffron (May 16th 1923 – December 1st 2013) were United States Army soldiers who fought in World War II with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

Easy Company, D-Day

Easy Company, D-Day

Guarnere was portrayed in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Frank John Hughes, and Heffron was portrayed by Robin Laing.

“Mairzy Doats” is a novelty song composed in 1943, by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston. It was first played on radio station WOR, New York, by Al Trace and his Silly Symphonists. The song made the pop charts several times, with a version by the Merry Macs reaching No. 1 in March 1944. The song was also a number one sheet music seller, with sales of over 450,000 within the first three weeks of release.

Easy Company's route.

Easy Company’s route.

The song’s refrain, as written on the sheet music, seems meaningless:

“Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe!”

However, the lyrics of the bridge provide a clue:

“If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey,
Sing ‘Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy’”.

This hint allows the ear to translate the final line as “[a] kid’ll eat ivy, too, wouldn’t you?”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Other D-Day posts of Pacific Paratrooper:

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/d-day/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/june-6-d-day-in-art-2/

First Hand Accounts of ‘The Longest Day’ 

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/intermission-stories-20/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/intermission-stories-21/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/intermission-stories-21/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/intermission-stories-23/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/intermission-stories-24/

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/intermission-stories-25/

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Military Humor –

Humor 001 (640x327)

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Farewell Salutes –

Christine Armstrong – Twentynine Palms, CA; US Army, 1st Cavalry Div., Spec., Texas flood

Brandon Banner – Milton, FL; US Army, 1st Cavalry, Pfc., Texas floodMemorial Day Image

Howard Brisbane – New Orleans, LA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pharmacist’s mate, 8th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

Joseph Stanley Cikan – Brookfield, IL; US Air Force, MSgt.

Miguel Colonvasquez – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Iraq, Afghanistan, 1st Cavalry, SSgt. Texas flood

Isaac Deleon – San Angelo, TX; US Army, 1st Cavalry, Pvt., Texas flood

Zachery Fuller – Palmetto, FL; US Army, 1st Cavalry, Pfc., Texas flood

Eddy Gates – Dunn, NC; US Army, 1st Cavalry, Pvt., Texas flood

Tysheena James – Jersey City, NJ; US Army, 1st Cavalry, Pvt., Texas flood

Jeff Kuss – Durango, CO; USMC, Afghanistan, Blue Angels, Captain, pilot

Mary Elizabeth Palmer – Little Rock, AK; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Mitchel Winey – Valparaiso, IN; US Army West Point Cadet, 1st Regiment, Texas flood

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 6, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 110 Comments.

  1. Legends, can’t help but smile listening to them. Lest We Forget the fallen. I’m curious GP what were the specifics of Texas flood? A recent national disaster where sadly those lives were lost?

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  2. Some things should just never be forgotten….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How delightful to hear two old friends once again sing a song they had shared long ago. I never did understand the words to that song, but I remember trying to sing it and the tune plays on in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I remember that song, but I haven’t heard it in years. ~ Connie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for helping me to keep this generation in the public eye. This song brought back many memories for so many readers – I can only wish I found the article sooner.

      Like

  5. Can I submit a name to Farewell Salutes? We lost my uncle yesterday, a WWII Navy vet who served on the PCE-897: Walter J Weyres

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    • Anyone who served, regardless of date of passing – anytime, Ned. Can you give me where Mr. Weyres grew up or just the state and/or country? He shall appear in tomorrow’s post. Please accept my sincerest sympathies for your loss – the entire world’s loss.

      Like

  6. Great post gp, and great to see those two old Soldiers still singing along after all these years.
    Now I finally understand the words to that wacky song.

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  7. Hey, I was taught this tune as a child. I was born in 1970!! I remember this! Lovely men, great service to all humanity!

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    • This unique song was taught to many of us by way of our older relatives and brought about the many memories I’ve been hearing about – glad to know you are one of them, Ted.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I could have sung it along with them G. It’s got me up a mountain or two. Maybe that’s what comes from growing up in the 40s and 50s. Great rendition, however. Some fun. –Curt

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  9. I just had a memory flashback. Mom used to watch all of these old (to me) movies with Andrew Sisters and the like in them and this song came up in one of those movies and I looked at her like she had two heads when she sang along. Still makes no sense 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thany you einen wunderschönen Tag lieber Gruß..

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If you haven’t yet seen it, there is a terrific PBS program called, “Headhunters of World War II”. You can find more info at http://www.iconfilms.co.uk/productions/past-productions/headhunters-of-world-war-ii.html. It’s the true story of how downed US pilots were saved from capture in Borneo, and the natives fought against their occupiers. BTW, you have a great site!

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    • Thank you for the compliment, Anna, the same can be said about yours! I’ll get to the video shortly – I appreciate all contributions and I do find it difficult locating information on Borneo – perfect!!

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    • I didn’t realize the video was just a preview – but it caught my interest – I’ve already ordered the book by Judith Heimann. Thank you very much for helping to contribute to the story of the Pacific.

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  13. This is a wonderful story, GP! Keep the stories coming!

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  14. what an inspiring video and the rest of the post
    Thank YOU for all you done!!!
    Love, Health and Wealth
    Alex Moses
    https://alifeanswer.com/

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  15. this is worth watching, if u haven’t already seen it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Dieter_Needs_to_Fly

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That video warmed my heart. So wonderful to see them together and reminiscing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My mother also sang this song to us when I was a kid. It took me years to figure out that there were real words behind what sounded like nonsense!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. GP – After a few failed efforts, I finally remembered the navigation needed to add a category to my header menu. Damn thing is very cumbersome compared to my PWE page. Anyway, there is a direct link to your page; long overdue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another way we’re similar – I can never remember how to navigate behind the scenes of my site, it’s always touch and go. I haven’t even tried in about a year or so. Thanks for going through all that effort!

      Like

      • You’re welcome. I have other issues greater than stubborn program templates, but there are times…

        Profiles theme allows a static page; I chose to make it the home page (instead of an “about”page) but the “page” function caused bizarre changes when I attempted to add a new version of the main posts page.

        The result forced me to add “Posts” as a new category, and make it part of the header menu in order to restore that page, and keep the static page as is.
        You can see the attempted page by scrolling down the home page; under the military emblems you will see “Recent Posts”, then “Pages”, click on Profiles In Courage-Posts.

        Had the template behaved correctly, this would have been the updated main post page, without the sidebar, as I had originally set things up.

        You note the starting post is not the most current. I was unable to untangle the mess, and created (restored) the normal flow by adjusting the header as mentioned. Every time I make a post, I must check both the category I wish to place the post in, AND check the “Posts” category to be sure it is also directed to the page reflecting posts as they are made.

        By the way, Max was another vet I “met” online back in ’06. It was to have been a continuing tribute to him over my main page… Because of this snafu, I posted his obit under Remembrance.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Those songs rattle around the “memory banks”, but only surface when I read your posts. From the days of shellac resin records… which if dropped would break apart like ceramic dishes. I remember MacArthur saying “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” in an old video of his farewell address made before I was born.
    Soon to reach 64 and feeling old, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My mom also taught me this song, and I taught it to my chikdren. I think it will like through countless generations. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been hearing so many great childhood memories this song has brought, and I’m lovin’ it!! I wonder if the author of it ever knew just how much his song meant to so many!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Excellent GP. We used to sing this song on our track team while warming up for a meet. Our coach taught it to us and most didn’t get it until told.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Holy cow! I’ve heard that song for years and years and never knew it had actual words. I thought it was one of those crazy novelty songs. I may have to try it out at work. I could end up in a white coat with real long sleeves, though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. My mother sang this to us too. I haven’t thought or heard of it for 50 plus years – wonderful! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sir thank you very much for putting this post up for the rest of us to get to enjoy. 72

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Wish I could party with Wild Bill and Babe! 🙂
    Band of Brothers is one of my favorite movies.
    Of course, always remembering all of our soldiers, past, present and future, with love, gratitude, and prayers for safety and wellness.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. To me inknow but also a piece of history

    Liked by 1 person

  27. georgiakevin

    Band of Brothers is a favorite book and movie of mine. Your posts are enough of a favorite for me to stop working on Special Education paperwork to read! Keep on posting my friend. You one of my top 2 favorite bloggers!

    Liked by 3 people

  28. One of my mom’s favorites as well. Makes me think of the fun times we had as kids, just singing along 🙂 Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Thanks very much for that. It really cheered me up to see two gentlemen who could still see the lighter side of what must have been a very difficult period of both their lives.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. My Dad used to sing this song. I still don’t understand what the words mean, but it was a treat to see the old soldiers enjoying it once more.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. My smile for the day! It has taken at least 60 years for me to learn the real words to this song that my dad taught me! Yes, I sang the mairzy dotes version!

    Liked by 3 people

  32. This post put a smile on my face. When I was young my grandma taught me this song. We would walk around her house and sing it. It always made me laugh. They do a good job of singing it. Thanks, Everett 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  33. It’s good to see a couple of the originals still making noise.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Great, had a chuckle at that. I remember my father knew this one too. The HBO series was so well put together that I bought the DVD pack. The real life interviews of those soldiers was very moving. A special thought and prayer for those guys on this June 6th D-day anniversary.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. I just saw an episode or two of Band of Brothers this week, and the assult they had from the hedgerows was horrific. No where to hide, and their lives depended only on chance that one of the bullets didn’t mame or kill. It saddens me to know they both passed away, but they were fortunate enough to survive, likely singing that song with passionate fever years ago – a way of dealing with inexplicable fear. Thanks as always for the story. Marty

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Another amazing piece of history.

    Liked by 3 people

  37. I know this is not related to this story, but I just had to share it…Some D-Day Veterans “dress down” Prince Harry for not wearing a tie…Hilarious!! That Generation will tell you how it is, regardless of who you are!!

    http://taskandpurpose.com/d-day-veteran-calls-prince-harry-not-wearing-tie/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tp-today

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Great Post..I gotta say, the Band of Brothers project..both the Book by Ambrose and the Mini-Series by Spielberg and Hanks has done more to bring awareness to the sacrifice of the Greatest Generation..not just the 101st, but the entire Military in WW2. The last DVD in that series “Why we Fight” and the interviews of all the soldiers (including Babe and Wild Bill) is worth the price of the entire series if you ask me. Amazing Stuff. Thanks GP for keeping their flame alive.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Dad used to sing this, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Of course I know the song: both the words and the melody. In fact, I’m singing it right now. I can remember my mother singing it when I was a kid — which makes sense, since I was born in 1946, and it still would have been popular, and getting radio play. What a fun memory!

    Liked by 4 people

  41. I will keep this song and Bill and Babe in my thoughts when we drive to omaha beach next month :O)

    Liked by 3 people

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