As seen on Lean Left

According to Lean Left » Drunken Lullabies, anybody who reads this is supposed to post an anti-war song on their own blog.

Recruiting Sargeant

Two recruiting sergeants came to the CLB,
for the sons of the merchants, to join the Blue Puttees
So all the hands enlisted, five hundred young men
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

They crossed the broad Atlantic in the brave Florizel,
And on the sands of Suvla, they entered into hell
And on those bloody beaches, the first of them fell

So it’s over the mountains, and over the sea
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
You’ll fight in Flanders, and at Galipoli
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Then the call came from London, for the last July drive
To the trenches with the regiment, prepare yourselves to die
The roll call next morning, just a handful survived.
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me


The stone men on Water Street still cry for the day
When the pride of the city went marching away
A thousand men slaughtered, to hear the King say
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Chorus x3

The Blue Puttees are the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, later given Royal assent as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

The song refers to Suvla, which was part of the Gallolipoli battle, which the ANZACs seem to think was their own private hell, but they also shared it with the 1st Newfoundland and a few British Corps. The “last July drive” part is a reference to Beaumont-Hamel, one of the more atrocious parts of the atrocity that was the Battle of the Somme. 800+ members of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment went over the top on the first day, and the next day 68 of them were still standing for roll call.

People laughed at the line in Braveheart where Longshanks refers to sending Irish troopers because they were cheaper than arrows. But there was at least a touch of that attitude still prevelent in the British Army officer corps in 1917. As my dad said a little while ago, if commanders tried that sort of thing today they’d be tried as war criminals by their own side.