Powder Monkey, The (Soon We'll Be in England Town)
DESCRIPTION: Jim was powder monkey killed on board Victory. In '98 "we chased the foe right into Bourky Bay" and destroyed their flag ship Orient. Jim was killed by musket "as the fight was just on won." He asks the crew "Give a kiss to dear old mother."
EARLIEST DATE: 1932 (Creighton-NovaScotia); 19C (broadside, Bodleian LOCSinging as111260)
KEYWORDS: battle navy death sea ship mother
Aug 1, 1798 - Nelson defeats the French in Aboukir Bay, Egypt
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Creighton-NovaScotia 57, "Chanty Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, p. 148, "The Powder Monkey" (1 text, 1 tune-chorus only)
GreigDuncan1 144, "The Battle of Aboukir Bay" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST CrNS057 (Full)
LOCSinging, as111260, "The Powder Monkey," unknown, 19C
cf. "Heiland Laddie" (similar chorus)
NOTES: Creighton-NovaScotia has a verse and chorus as a chanty.
The "powder monkey" job could be handled by women and boys "whose task it was to pass gunpowder up from the magazine to the gunners" (see source for Aboukir Bay, below)
Nelson in Vanguard led the defeat of the French and their flagship L'Orient at Aboukir Bay in the Egyptian campaign in August 1798. (Source: Nelson and the Nile; Part 3: A victory at Aboukir Bay by John Woolford "originally published in Military History Magazine August 1998" per the African History site)
HMS Victory, while commissioned in 1778, was not in service in 1798. Nelson's [service in] Victory began in 1803 and continued until his death at Trafalgar in 1805 (Source: HMS Victory site) - BS
Hugill calls this a "shore sea-song" possibly from the music-hall, believes that it dates from the 1840s, and that it bears some relationship to "Donkey Riding." - SL
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