South Down Militia
DESCRIPTION: Famous warriors are named: King's Guards and Scots Greys, Russians and Prussians, Julius Caesar and Napoleon, "but the South Down Militia is the terror of the land." Their appearance throws the Kaiser and "Krugar" into despair and makes Victoria gush.
AUTHOR: Col. R.H. Wallace (source:Graham)
EARLIEST DATE: c.1895 (Graham)
KEYWORDS: army war humorous nonballad talltale Napoleon
1899-1902 - Boer War
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (5 citations):
OLochlainn 90 note, "South Down Militia" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Graham, p. 13, "The Royal South Down Militia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hammond-Belfast, pp. 40-41, "The South Down Militia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Behan, #86, "The South Down Militia" (1 text, 1 tune, modified)
NOTES: The description is from the text at South Down Defenders Flute Band Newry site "Words & Music of Traditional Ulster Songs." - BS
I find myself wondering if there are not two different phases of this song. Its inclusion in Graham would seem to imply a date prior to 1895.
And yet, the references to Kruger, the Kaiser, and Victoria date the version of the song containing them fairly precisely: The Jameson Raid (beginning in late December of 1895) provoked the "Kruger Telegram," in which Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany offered his friendship to Boer president Kruger (though the support turned out to be only moral). The (second) Boer War began in 1899, and ended in 1902; Victoria died in 1901.
The Boer War started with a series of bad British defeats, forcing them to bring in additional forces from all over the Empire. Naturally this included a lot of Irish troops. - RBW
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