DESCRIPTION: A young man enlists in the 42nd Regiment; mistreated by his captain and confined to barracks for a trivial offense, he decides to kill the captain. He accidentally shoots his colonel instead, and is tried (at Liverpool Assizes) and hanged.
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 or 1966 (collected from Caroline Hughes)
KEYWORDS: army violence crime execution homicide punishment revenge death soldier
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland,England) Ireland
REFERENCES (2 citations):
MacSeegTrav 86, "McCaffery" (1 text, 1 tune)
May Bradley, "Calvery" (on Voice08)
cf. "The Gallant Forty-Twa" (subject: 42nd Highlanders or Black Watch) and references there
cf. "The Croppy Boy (I)" [Laws J14] (tune for Voice08)
NOTES: Hall, notes to Voice08, re "Calvery": "The story in the ballad is true in all its essentials. Patrick McCafferty was born in Mullingar, Co. West Meath, and in October 1860 enlisted at the age of seventeen in the 32nd Regiment.... McCafferty was tried at Liverpool Assizes and was hanged in Liverpool in front of Kirkdale gaol on January 11th, 1862. [ref. Roy Palmer, ed., The Rambling Soldier (Alan Sutton, 1985).]" Yates, Musical Traditions site Voice of the People suite "Notes - Volume 8" - 1.3.03 has a more detailed account. - BS
When I met this song, I was surprised to find a soldier from the 42nd Regiment (the famous Black Watch) being tried in Liverpool; their base is in Perth. The likeliest explanation is that several sources confused the obscure 32nd regiment (which was, improbably enough, the Cornwall Regiment) with the famous 42nd, for which see songs such as "Wha Saw the Forty-Second." - RBW, (PJS)
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