Mid-war recruiting poem for the 220th Battalion (12th. York Rangers)

Sergeant Horace Henry Anderson,living in Toronto with his wife and one boy aged 8 decided to enlist into the 220th Battalion during the hectic recruiting drives of 1916 when multiple battalions were competing for recruits. An electrician by trade and having served with the Royal Engineers and 2nd. Devon Artillery in England for 15 years plus serving in the 12th Battalion York Rangers Canadian Militia, tall and fit he was given NCO rank upon his attestation on July 20, 1916 in Toronto. Whilst still serving with the 12th. York Rangers Battalion a local newspaper whose territory was actively being used for recruitment purposes by the 220th. Battalion published his untitled recruiting poem, viz.:

The day has sped and night has
spread
Her dismal shroud o’er Britain’s
head;
Old England’s greatest warrior
dread,
Brave Kitchener, is dead.

Let British maids and matrons
weep;
Children and old folks still may
sleep
In earned ease, but man must
keep
Their tryst with Britain’s
foes.

One more we owe them, but that
one
Shall cost the thrice-accursed
Hun
All that he’s won by guile or gun,
Or Jack Canuck’s foreworn.

O Canada, as in the past,
Cold calculations form you cast;
To honor you’re committed fast,
You’ve nailed your colors to the
mast
To quell the foe.
On Flanders’ fields your thous-
ands slain
Call you to arms again, again,
And you must go.

“The Newmarket Era” Newmarket, Ontario Friday, June 16th, 1916, page 2
http://news.ourontario.ca/newmarket/2426049/page/2?n=

Sergeant Horace Henry Anderson (born: November 18, 1882/1883? in England – died: November 29, 1937 in York County, Ontario) did eventually serve in France with the 4th. Canadian Mounted Rifles but was sick only late in the war and hospitalized at the start of 1919 in England.

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15 Responses to Mid-war recruiting poem for the 220th Battalion (12th. York Rangers)

  1. Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

    The “Brave Kitchener, is dead.” of the poem is referring to the famous Lord Kitchener of the famous recruiting poster that the Americans adapted to use Uncle Sam instead.

    Though a successful imperialist in crushing poorly armed opponents like the Sudanese tribesmen mowed down by machine gun fire, and eventually the Boers through the use of Concentration Camps for rounding up Boer women and children in appalling conditions resulting in high death rates, he was less successful dealing with Germans in his role as a Cabinet Minister.

    He lost control over war industry due to his failure to maintain supplies. He was on his way to Russia when his warship was sunk off of Scotland by a German mine. An episode of the BBC documentary series “Coast” tells the story of that sinking in which many died. TVO shows Coast and sometimes replays episode. “Brave” isn’t the word I would use, but even as propaganda, he seems a poor choice for those who read the papers.
    http://www.angloboerwar.com/other-information/88-concentration-camps/1832-concentration-camps-introduction

    Anon1

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    • He both epitomized in actuality pre-1914 Imperial military successfulness including as you rightly point out brutal coerciveness (Boer concentration camps) and the mythologizing both during his WWI years and post of the stalwartness of “Britain rules the waves and never shall be slaves” imperial hegemony especially in relation to European empire rivalries one of the main causes of WWI. In fact a battalion from Montreal was called “Kitchener’s Own” and “Berlin, Ontario” was controversially renamed “Kitchener” in 1916 in the Field Marshall’s honour as much as to de-Germanize the Ontario gazetteer!

      Like

  2. Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

    You might consider having a note or link for your “Fall In” webpage banner that leads to the description of the image, poem, and poet.

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    • Thanks again Hari and possibly I may do this but I am focused on putting up interesting content right now. I MAY do this hyperlinking in the future though.
      John

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      • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

        John, I am hoping that you can go back to your Replies and change my name to “Anon1” since I like to be anonymous (just like you and this website until you used your first name). And preferably not post this Reply. Anon1 allowing the reader to keep track.of a single identity to keep the thread of the discussion. My nom de guerre so to speak.

        The additional info was just a thought. I may have been the only one who was curious. was.

        For a while, I was thinking the reason you didn’t have any comments was that the comments went to some WordPress “memory hole,” so it was good to receive your Reply.

        Anon1

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      • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

        Did you change an option for comments? Comments now seem to appear immediately, instead of disappearing until you activate them.

        Anon1

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      • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

        I see that Replies get posted immediately while new posts disappear and require your action. You might consider deleting all of this subthread since it is irrelevant to the poetry and to probably all visitors.

        Anon1

        Like

      • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

        I see that I wasn’t paying attention! I see my name appears with my posts. So my seeking anonymity was a failure from the start. I somehow interpreted “Address never made public” as applying to the Name field even though it says nothing.

        Please delete this whole sub-thread so that I am not reminded of my stupidity and failing to notice it immediately.

        Like

      • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

        How do you interpret the fact that of about 50 people in earshot of your challenge to comment only one did? Especially in the context of “Canadian content” and the supposed interest in it of those in earshot? It would have cost them a minute or less. They could have done it from their phone on their way back home. There chance to be first.

        Did you see an increase in Canadian web traffic? Are you able to breakdown the IP addresses to determine your audience by country? My guess would be the UK might be first. They might be drawn by searching on Begbie or his poem.

        Like

  3. Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

    An interesting website and a work of love.

    I wanted to know more about the poem in the colour banner at the top of the webpage and the black, yellow, and red flag at the bottom right. The start of your first post, in November 2014, identifies it as being Harold Begie’s “Fall In.”
    https://canadianwarpoetryww1.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/6/

    In Wikipedia, Begbie is listed as English. Is it incorrect? Because I see him also listed in a collection of Canadian poets with the full poem:
    http://canadianpoetry.org/2013/12/02/in-the-day-of-battle-poems-of-the-great-war/#FallIn!

    More searching reveals the flag is the Belgian flag. But it doesn’t appear to have been used in the Begbie postcard:
    http://www.worldwar1postcards.com/ww1-poetry-and-verse-on-postcards.php

    Your first post says it’s from a 1914 handkerchief, so the German abrogation of Belgium’s neutrality which triggered the British ultimatum and then declaration of war (which automatically brought Canada into the war) was fresh in the public mind. (I enjoy historical context)

    From an Australian museum, I see a whole handkerchief and with its handy “magnifying glass” cursor, I can see your portion of the “Fall In” words in the top right quadrant and along the edge above it is the Belgian flag. But it appears that might be a different handkerchief than the one you used.
    http://ergo.slv.vic.gov.au/image/handkerchief-printed-propaganda-message
    Are you able to say if they are the same?

    Anyway, you peaked my curiosity so I thought I’d share the fruits, such as they are. Thank you for providing the opportunity to think of these questions and the spur to attempt to research the answers through the resources of the world. And to read the poetry.

    Like

    • Thanks Hari for your responses, information, comments and questions! I used a portion of Begbie (definitely English poet and NOT Canadian) as the header. Even the diction: the pub for example is a dead giveaway that the poem is NOT Canadian. I MAY replace the header if I fine a powerful emotionally appealing Canadian alternative. Not sure if it is the same handkerchief or not that you reference having found in the Australian Museum’s collections (which Australian Museum?).

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      • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

        I made a mistake. The image was posted by the State Library of Victoria from their manuscript collection. Victoria being one of the Australian states. Their main website is here: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/

        When I was an undergrad there were “pub crawls” and XYZ Pub. So back in 1914, I would think the British element would be much stronger, plus back then many Canadian immigrants were from the UK. So the cultural elements of the home country might work well for recruiting them. So “pub” and “picture show” didn’t seem suspicious. Later due to the war, Canada would impose Prohibition. And “football” works in both countries though the game is very different being soccer there.

        Do you have a theory why Begie appears in a collection of Canadian poetry at canadaianpoetry.com (my second link in my original post)?

        Anon1

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        • Anon1 Begbie appears in a collection of “Canadian” poetry as typically during the war and immediately after British and “Canadian” (latter meaning authored/printed/published within present day Canada) poems appeared together due to political cultural reasons: EMPIRE! Imperial unity politically, economically and culturally was the supreme “norm.” Does this make it difficult plus to disentangle who/what is Canadian from the WWI era 1900 to 1950? YES! There may be other specific to Begbie reasons which I am not currently aware of though. Tx again for your comment/question.

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          • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

            Interesting, even though one learns 1867 just meant that Canada had a form of Home Rule as a Dominion while still a colony of the British Empire with all foreign affairs like war determined by London. The last court of appeal was still the Privy Council in London until 1949. It wasn’t until the 1931 Statute of Westminster that Canada really got independence. It took until 1947 for Canadian Citizenship to be created.

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            • Hari Shanmugadhasan says:

              Which is why July 1 was called Dominion Day instead of Independence Day since it didn’t mark independence. It marked the combination of some colonies into a larger colonial Dominion. Today, it gets called Canada Day which obscures the fact that it wasn’t independence.

              Like

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