The Movement for the Abolition of War

Peace Songs for Choirs

Listen to the Collection

This collection of songs for choirs began with 14 songs in 2014, to mark the centenary of World War 1. Seven of the these are by MAW member Sue Gilmurray, and the others are by seven different writers. One more song was added each year until 2018, so there are 18 songs in all.

They are available to listen to at (except **) and you can access a selection of the audio, sheet music and lyrics here.

Here they are, in alphabetical order:

A climate for peace (2014)

Sue Gilmurray

**Between the wars (2016)

Billy Bragg

Christmas in the trenches (2014)

John McCutcheon

Firing of the heart (2014)

Sue Gilmurray

Foolish notion (2014)

Holly Near

Go down fighting (2014)

Sue Gilmurray

If I had my way (2015)

Polly Bolton

Mothers, daughters, wives (2014)

Judy Small

Music of healing (2014)

Music by Tommy Sands
Lyrics by Tommy Sands and Pete Seeger

The ones who said No (2014)

Sue Gilmurray

The time (2014)

Sue Gilmurray

Turn our hands (2014)

Sue Gilmurray

Tyne Cot at night (2014)

Jim Boyes

We are for peace (2014)

Sue Gilmurray


Billy Bragg’s “Between the wars” is updated for the present generation. It’s not just anti-war, but also anti-bigotry and pro-social justice.

In “If I had my way” Polly Bolton uses the words of Harry Patch (1898 – 2009), the last surviving British soldier to have fought in WW1.

“Tyne Cot at night” is for male voices, while “Mothers, daughters, wives” (2014) is for female voices.


Peace Songs for Choirs

Sue Gilmurray wrote: “Vera is Vera Brittain, author of the memoir Testament of Youth, and mother of Shirley Williams (who gave the MAW Lecture some years ago). She was an intelligent, attractive, privileged young woman, who was appalled when her fiance, her brother and her best male friends were all killed in the war. A volunteer nurse during the war, and a successful writer thereafter, she devoted her life to opposing warfare, even when it brought her contempt and abuse.

In this year, the centenary of the Armistice, and a year which is emphasising the right of women to be taken seriously, I hope that Vera will be taken up and sung by choirs and singing groups, along with others from the collection.”

Songs for Education

Download a list of recommended songs with discography compiled by Tony Kempster and Sue Gilmurray for use in education and campaigning.