This comic number was written by Lonnie Donegan, his road manager Peter Buchanan and Beverly Thorn. It was based on "My Father Was a Fireman", a song sung by British troops during World War I.
Lonnie Donegan recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits
: "'My Old Man's A Fireman (on the Elder Dempster Line)' became a student's union song in Birmingham, and then it was picked up by the troops in World War 1 as 'My old man's a dustman, he fought in the Battle of Mons. He killed ten thousand Germans with only a hundred bombs.' We used it as a joke on stage and then the A&R department at Pye told me to write it… We performed new verses every night until we had ones that would work well on record."