It’s a long way to Tipperary

Cllr Bryan Chalker.
Cllr Bryan Chalker.

North East Somerset community broadcaster, Somer Valley FM, is airing a special show on 4th August presented by Bryan Chalker and Dom Chambers. Timed to the exact date of the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the war the show features stories and memorabilia from the front around the theme of music from the era.

Mr Chalker, a former Mayor of Bath and Chairman of Bath & NE Somerset Council, came to the west country in the early 1980s to work for the regions first commercial radio station, Radio West. T

he veteran DJ brought his considerable knowledge of music to community broadcasting when he launched his popular show Same Roots, Different Fruits on Somer Valley FM two years ago.

Mr Chambers came to the area six years ago to launch Somer Valley FM. Previously he shared his passion for history with the listeners of BBC Solent and has made a life study of Imperial Germany.

The two broadcasters from different generations, who have combined radio experience of 75 years, share the fact that both their grandfathers fought in the Royal Flying Corps over the Western Front. The programme includes a letter sent home by Dom’s grandfather requesting music to be sent out to entertain the troops.

Dom says’ “Working with Bryan on this project was an absolute joy given his knowledge and passion for music. We didn’t want just to do another broadcast on ‘somewhere in this land there is a piece that is forever England ‘ type thing.

Somehow focusing on the musical hits of the day brings home to us that these were real people who needed to be entertained and laugh whilst being put in conditions that are unimaginable to most of us 100 years on.”

It’s a long way to Tipperary can be heard, 2pm on Monday 4th August online at SomerValleyFM.co.uk or on 97.5fm.

For more information contact Dom Chambers on 01761 568 004.

Meanwhile Bryan’s own 2-hour show – ‘Same Roots, Different Troops’ will air later on the same day. You can catch it between 7pm and 9pm and it will feature a song Bryan wrote called ‘Do You Recall The War To End All War’?

Bryan Chalker's grandfather.
Bryan Chalker’s grandfather.

The song, recorded by Cumbrian Tony Renney , was first written as a poem in 1984 and later read out at the unveiling in 2010 of a plaque to commemorate the life of 111-year old Harry Patch, ‘The Last Fighting Tommy’, in the Guildhall.

It has evolved into a song and from that an entire 2-hour programme on Somer Valley FM devoted to the music of WW1 and other conflicts.

Bryan’s grandfather served with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War.