DESCRIPTION: "For when we landed in Belgium, the girls all danced for joy, Says one unto the other, 'Here comes an Irish boy.'" The singer reports that the Irish won Neuve Chappelle. The Kaiser and Von Kluck lament that the Irish have arrived
EARLIEST DATE: 1933 (Sam Henry collection)
KEYWORDS: war soldier battle derivative
March 10, 1915 - Start of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (3 citations):
SHenry H526, p. 182, "Neuve Chappelle" (1 text, 1 tune)
DallasCruel, pp. 220-221, "Neuve Chapelle" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Jerry SIlverman, _Ballads & Songs of WWI_, Mel Bay, 1997, 2008, pp. 174-175, "Neuve Chappelle" (1 text, 1 tune, which appears to be a direct copy of the Henry version)
cf. "True-Born Irish Man (With My Swag All on My Shoulder; The True-Born Native Man)" (form)
NOTES: Gale Huntington considered this to be an actual version of "The True-Born Irish Man." Given that the Henry text has only two verses, that strikes me as extreme. But it is clearly derived from that song.
The song describes Neuve Chapelle as a British victory. It was certainly a British battle, involving the British 7th and 8th Divisions, plus two Indian divisions. They attacked and smashed the equivalent of less than a German brigade, but then were stopped and the front stabilized. The battle had some effect on British morale (showing that the newly-arriving Territorial troops were solid), but British casualties were much higher than German; it was in no sense a victory for either side.
Von Kluck is General Alexander von Kluck, commander of the German First Army (the right flank element of the German force in France); his, more than anyone else's, had been the task of outflanking the French in 1914, and in this, he had failed.
Kluck continued in command until 1915 (when he was wounded and permanently invalided), but he played no real part in Neuve Chappelle (the real commander on the front by this time was simply defensive doctrine) and would not have been discussing it with the Kaiser. The Western Front was under what amounted to the direct command of the German commander-in-chief, Falkenheyn, who approved all plans and would have been responsible for any talks with Wilhelm II. - RBW
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