Annie Dear, Good-Bye
DESCRIPTION: A soldier dying on the Sudan battlefield sends a message to Annie. He recalls the battle led by General Steward and Barney Bey. He tells her to comfort his mother, blesses Annie, dies and is buried in "a soldier's grave in a foreign land"
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (GreigDuncan1)
KEYWORDS: love battle death burial Africa soldier
Jan 17, 1885 - The Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan (source: "Egypt 1882-1885, Sudan 1896-97" at the Gloucester Regiment site [The Glorious Glosters])
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #104, p. 2, "Annie Dear, Good-Bye" (1 text)
GreigDuncan1 109, "Annie Dear, Good-Bye" (4 texts, 2 tunes)
A Soldier on the Battlefield
NOTES [344 words]: Churchill describes Abu Klea as "the most savage and bloody action ever fought in the Soudan by British troops." (Winston Churchill, The River War (London, 1997), pp. 42-43).
Greig #106 refering to the lines in Greig #104 "By General Stewart we were led, Who was wounded on that day; Brave Barney Bey who fought and died In the thickest of the fray": "[John Ord] writes 'Re song "Annie dear, good-bye": this is another music hall song. The "Barney Bey," and "Brave Barney Boy" are simply corruptions of 'Burnaby' -- the gallant Colonel Fred Burnaby, who fell in the Soudan. Such is fame when his very name is already forgotten."' - BS
Abu Klea was part of the campaign to rescue "Chinese" Gordon in Khartoum (for background on that, see "Andy McElroe"). The British General Wolseley was leading a force down the Nile -- but, in Sudan, the Nile makes a great bend, and Wolseley thought to cut off the bend (see Byron Farwell, Queen Victoria's Little Wars, 1972 [I use the 1985 Norton edition], p. 288).
General Stewart was given the larger part of Wolseley's force to make this desert mark. According to Farwell, p. 289, "On 17 January 1885 ten thousand Dervishes led by one of the Mahdi's best generals struck Stewart's column near some wells at a place called Abu Klea, forty-five miles from Korti.... Stewart's men were in the traditional square when the Dervishes crashed into them. At one point the square broke, but the lines closed again and all the Dervishes who had penetrated the square were killed. The Dervishes lost about 1,100 men; British casualties were nine officers and sixty-five other ranks killed and nine officers and eighty-five other ranks wounded. Among the killed was the dashing Colonel Burnaby."
Stewart pressed on, but was attacked again seven miles from the Nile. This time, it was Stewart who was mortally wounded (Farwell, pp. 289-290). This was to prove a disaster for the British; they made it to the Nile, but the inexperienced officer now in command hesitated for three days, and those three days doomed Gordon and Khartoum. - RBW
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