Lad in the Scotch Brigade, The (The Banks of the Clyde)

DESCRIPTION: Geordie and Jean meet on the banks of the Clyde. She tries to dissuade him from "going to fight for his queen." She gives him a lock of her hair. In the battle a bullet "buried that dear lock of hair in his heart." Jean and his mother comfort each other.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1938 (Neely/Spargo-TalesAndSongsOfSouthernIllinois)
KEYWORDS: courting army battle separation death lover soldier
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf,West) US(MW)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 133, "The Banks of the Clyde" (1 text, 1 tune)
Neely/Spargo-TalesAndSongsOfSouthernIllinois, p. 155, "The Soldier's Farewell" (1 short text)
Winstock-SongsAndMusicOfTheRedcoats, p. 251, "(The Lad in the Scotch Brigade)" (1 text)
Hamer-GarnersGay, p. 26, "On the Banks of the Clyde" (1 text, 1 tune, which appears to mix "The Lad in the Scotch Brigade (The Banks of the Clyde)" with "The Bad Girl's Lament, (St. James' Hospital; The Young Girl Cut Down in her Prime)" [Laws Q26])

ST LLab133 (Partial)
Roud #1784
Mrs. Maggie Luby, "Geordie (On the Banks of the Clyde)" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Jack Swain, "The Banks of the Clyde" (on MUNFLA/Leach)

Bodleian, Harding B 11(2032), "The Lad in the Scotch Brigade" or "The Burning Plains of Egypt" ("On the banks of the Clyde stood a lass [sic] and a lassie"), unknown, n.d.
NLScotland, RB.m.143(125), "The Scotch Brigade," Poet's Box (Dundee), c. 1880-1900

cf. "The Fair Town of Greenock" (theme)
cf. "The Paisley Officer (India's Burning Sands)" [Laws N2] (theme)
NOTES [562 words]: This ballad is reported in What We Sang Down on the Farm: A Forgotten Manuscript on Western Canadian Singing Traditions by David A.E. Spelling in Canadian Journal for Traditional Music (1985). The article includes an anonymous undated manuscript collected in Alberta by Dr. Robert E. Gard in the 1940s. The author of that manuscript recalls that "our favourite war song was 'The Lad in the Scotch Brigade,' a product of the war in Egypt and the Soudan." The manuscript then summarizes the ballad and includes the chorus from the broadside omitted in the Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast version.
The Alberta source, in placing the war "in Egypt and the Soudan" was probably imagining it to be about the recent (1884-1885 and 1896-1898) wars against the Dervish Empire. The ballad does not name the battle at which the hero is killed but refers only to "the great victory." In those "river wars" the "great victory" was the Battle of Omdurman, September 2, 1898. However, one of Roud's sources for #1784, as "The Scotch Brigade," was Delaney's Song Book No.1 published in 1892, before the second Dervish war. Too bad: the Scotch Brigade -- the 94th Regiment of Foot -- was in the second war against the Dervish Empire. It does not seem that the Scotch Brigade was in Egypt at any other time. You can find a history of the Scottish Brigade at the Dungarvan Museum site Historical Articles - BS
Peter Power-Hynes sends the following, which perhaps helps explain the situation (very slightly edited for formatting, but the words are all his):
"After the Peninsular Wars against Napoleon the 94th effectively became an Irish Regiment by being 'depoted' in Ireland in various towns from the 1820s right up to 1922 (disbandment) with the exception of a few engagements abroad.
"Following the Cardwell Reforms in 1880 after the 'Zulu Wars' the 94th became the 2nd B[attalio]n The Connaught Rangers. The First Bn was the old 88th Foot the original Connaught Rangers who by a sheer coincidence had served with the 94th in General Picton's 3rd Light Div[ision] in the Peninsula.
"About 20 men from the 2nd Bn Connaught Rangers (formerly 94th) volunteered for service on the Gordon Relief Expedition to the Sudan 1884 and were engaged as Camel Mounted Infantry. Their toughest fight was as part of the Square at the Battle of Abu Klea (wells).
"About 100 men of the old 94th had prev[iously] served in Egypt in the 1882 Campaign attached to the old 18th Royal Irish Regiment (from Clonmel, County Tipperary.)
In Armagh town where I was born
all free from debt and danger
till one O'Connor enlisted me
to be a Connaught Ranger
"Prior to the Zulu Wars the 94th were depoted at Armagh and they were nicknamed 'The Gallant Armaghs.' Many of the Officers still appeared to be from traditional Scottish Families like Lieut Col Anstruther who commanded them in South Africa and unfortunately got himself killed at Bronkhurst Spruit in December 1880. Prior to that ambush by the Boers, the Band of the 94th were singing,
Kiss me, mother, kiss your darling
"Its a bit ironic and sad that generally speaking the Irish don't rate the 94th as Irish and the Scottish don't rate them as a real Scottish Regiment after the Napoleonic Wars."
For more on the Gordon relief expedition and the Sudan campaigns, see "Andy McElroe"; also "Hector MacDonald" and "Annie Dear, Good-Bye." - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: LLab133

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.