New marching song

Page 22 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 17 June, 1916.

Page 22 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 17 June, 1916.

On the 24th February 1915, The Northern Miner (Charters Towers) newspaper published a new marching song, penned by a Mr. R.M. Clark for ‘Kitchener's Army’, and intended to be sung to the tune of John Brown's Body.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85483382

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85483382

The lyrics had already been published in Spectator:

We are coming, Mother England,

6 thousand thousand strong.

Tell your brothers in the trenches we

have passed the call along.  

For the word you hold in honor,

For the right against the wrong,

Your sons are marching on.  

 

From the city and the workshop, from

the frontier line far-flung.

From the golden lands of promise,  

bright and beautiful and young.

Comes the tramping of your children,

comes their ringing battle song,

Your sons are marching on.

 

By the homes we have behind us, by

the Flag upon the breeze,  

By the freedom or our birthright and

the ships upon the sea,  

We have pledged the cup of conflicts

we will drain it to the lees,

Your sons are marching on.

 

The scythe of Death is reaping; still

he gathers in his grain,

Though the noble, dead are sleeping,

they shall never die in vain;

God be with you, Mother England, till

in peace we come again.

Your sons are marching on.

Page 26 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 22 April, 1916

Page 26 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 22 April, 1916

John Brown’s Body was an American Civil War tune, and during the First World War it was not uncommon for soldiers to appropriate songs from previous conflicts or popular melodies of the day, and apply alternative lyrics.

Images from the Queenslander Pictorial show Lord Kitchener visiting the Dardanelles on a tour of inspection in November 1915.

Robyn Hamilton - QANZAC100 Content Curator, State Library of Queensland

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