This unusual memorial features Jack Judge sitting on a granite rock, studying the ‘Tipperary’ songsheet, whilst a First World War soldier leans over his shoulder and plays the song on his mouth organ. It is sited outside the newly renovated Stalybridge Town Hall, just a few hundred yards away from what was once the Grand Theatre. The statue was unveiled on December 16th 2005. Jack was appearing at the Grand Theatre, Stalybridge, near Manchester. One night, after a performance, a fellow artiste bet Jack he couldn’t write and perform a new song within 24 hours. The song was was allegedly written for a 5 shilling bet on 30th January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Judge’s parents were Irish, and his grandparents came from Tipperary. It became popular among soldiers in the First World War and is remembered as a song of that war. The Irish regiment the Connaught Rangers were witnessed singing this song as they marched through Boulogne on 13 August 1914 in the 1st World War by the Daily Mail correspondent George Curnock. This was then reported in that newspaper on 18 August 1914 and the songs popularity started to grow.
In November 1914 it was recorded by the well-known tenor John McCormack, which helped contribute to its worldwide popularity.