North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

The Tiddlywinks Anthem was written by the Reverend Edgar Ambrose Willis in February 1958 in England. It was written to be sung on 1 March 1958 at the beginning of the seminal Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC) vs. Goons match, which is described in splendid detail in Guy Consterdine’s historical booklet, Winks Rampant. The song is sung to the tune of the Welsh song, The Men of Harlech. The Goons vs. CUTwC  match came about after winkers at Cambridge noticed an article in the national political magazine, The Spectator, that had the title, “Does Prince Philip Cheat at Tiddlywinks”. CUTwC dutifully sent a letter to Prince Philip’s secretary, inviting the Duke of Edinburgh to defend his honor against such a false claim. To CUTwC’s surprise, Prince Philip’s secretary replied in the affirmative, and he subsequently nominated The Goons, a well-known radio comedy troupe, as his Royal Champions to compete against CUTwC. The match took place on 1 March 1958, garnering considerable publicity. This match substantially magnified the public’s knowledge about the noble game, and thereafter, triggered immense expansion in the establishment of tiddlywinks clubs and winkers throughout the UK. Once the plans for the Goons vs. CUTwC match were firmly in place, the Reverend E.  A. Willis wrote the words to the Tiddlywinks Anthem in February 1958. Here are the words to the Tiddlywinks Anthem:

Other nations are before us,
With their `Sputniks' and `Explorers'.
What can confidence restore us?

On the fields of Eton,
Former foes were beaten.
But today all patriots play.

This sport which needs such grit and concentration,
Through this game of skill and power,
England knows her finest hour.

And her stronghold, shield and tower,

Sputniks were satellites launched into space by the U.S.S.R. starting in 1957. Explorer satellites were launched into space by the U.S. starting in 1958. Eton is a British educational institution.

Recorded Editions

Sheet Music Version

(undated) • Sheet music for The Tiddlywinks Anthem by Rev. E. A Willis, handwritten by Dave Lockwood • from: Lockwood collection