I Once Was A Ploughboy is a song of the kind frequently printed in the 19th century, in which the innocent youth, often a worker on the land, is tricked, forced or goes to be a soldier out of duty.
The hard life of a farm hand may have seemed not so bad compared to the perils of war, and our ploughboy clearly looks forward to coming home to Sarah and never venturing away again. Such thoughts must have sustained countless young men.
Colour photos from the excellent and informative https://gressenhallfw.wordpress.com. Among the other pictures are Land girls, who took the place of the men and boys who were called up for the armed forces during the Second World War. Nothing changes.