#00372
Recruiting Sergeant (NFLD-Great Big Sea) tabs, videos
See also: The Recruiting Sergeant (Irish-Seamus O'Farrell)
#1797: YouTube video by johndenewf
©2011 ~ Used with permission ~

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Two recruiting sergeants came to the CLB,
For the sons of the merchants to join the Blue Puttees;
So all hands enlisted, five hundred young men,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

They crossed the broad Atlantic in the brave Florizel,
On the sands of Suvla, they entered into hell;
And on those bloody beaches, the first of them fell,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

And it's over the mountains and over the sea,
Come, brave Newfoundlanders, and join The Blue Puttees;
You'll fight the Hun in Flanders, and at Gallipoli,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

The call came from London for the last July drive,
"To the trenches with the Regiment, prepare yourselves to die."
The roll call next morning, just a handful survived,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

And it's over the mountains and over the sea,
Come, brave Newfoundlanders, and join The Blue Puttees;
You'll fight the Hun in Flanders, and at Gallipoli,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

The store men on Water Street still cry for the day,
When the pride of their city went marching away;
A thousand men slaughtered to hear the King say,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

So it's over the mountains and over the sea,
Come, brave Newfoundlanders, and join The Blue Puttees;
You'll fight the Hun in Flanders, and at Gallipoli,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

So it's over the mountains and over the sea,
Come, brave Newfoundlanders, and join The Blue Puttees;
You'll fight the Hun in Flanders, and at Gallipoli,
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.
Enlist, you Newfoundlanders, and come follow me.

####.... Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea ....####
Recorded by Great Big Sea (Play, trk#10, 1997, Warner Music Canada, Scarborough, Ontario, produced by Danny Greenspoon).

See more songs by Great Big Sea.

The video above features a memorial for family and friends recording the war record of Sergeant-Major Peter Sampson of the Royal Newfoundland regiment, a fisherman from Fox Harbour, Placentia Bay [1895-1942] who received the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the French Croix de Guerre for capturing a German machine gun post single-handedly during an engagement at Gueudecourt during the Battle of Le Transloy on October 12, 1916, plus the British War Medal for Service in 1915 at the Front Line in Gallipoli, awarded by King George V in 1919, and the Victory Medal for The Great War for Civilization.

The video below features a solo performance by the composer Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea accompanied by Mike Hanrahan at the book signing/launch for his just-published book Writing Out The Notes at Fred's Records, St John's, NL, in November, 2010.


#1467: YouTube video by BetweenTheRock
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

The video below features a tribute to the Blue Puttees of Newfoundland and all Canadian soldiers both past and present.

#166: YouTube video by Shuniah80
©2007 ~ Used with permission ~

Behind this song is a lot of history which deserves mention.

CLB - by the First World War, Newfoundland had been without a standing military force since around 1870. There did exist, however, several para-military groups run by the local churches. These included the Church Lads Brigade (The CLB), along with the Catholic Cadet Corps, the Newfoundland Highlanders, the Methodist Guards, and the Boys Brigade. When Newfoundland was going to war, the CLB donated the use of the Armoury to the RNR (Royal Newfoundland Regiment) for their headquarters and all the early recruitment took place there. The first person to enlist was a member of the CLB. The song refers to the CLB as most of the early recruitment for the RNR came from the CLB's ranks since the para-military groups were the only people with any military training on the Island....
Our thanks for the above information to Keith Maddocks, WO1, Church Lads Brigade, St John's, NL.

Newfoundland was a British Colony at the outbreak of WWI and, wanting to do their part for King and Country, raised its own army (offically known as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment) from scratch. They were typically the "sons of the merchants" in St John's because, although the common fisher-person did enlist, many were needed elsewhere on fishing and/or sealing boats (much the same as farmers were never asked to fight in WWII, since their production was as important to the war effort as anything else).

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Blue Puttee - member of the first contingent of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to volunteer for service in 1914.
1964 NICHOLSON 110 - Since no khaki woollen material suitable for making puttees (a strip of cloth wound around the lower leg, from the top of the boot to just below the knee to form legging) was available [at St John's in August 1914], the troops at Pleasantville were issued puttees of navy blue... To be a Blue Puttee was to be a member of the famous First Five Hundred.

The second verse details how the first five hundred initially encountered battle, on Suvla Bay, which turned out to be a slaughter house for both sides (the Turkish were the 'enemies' at that battle). The Florizel has been in a number of less than nice situations, being on the scene of the 1918 Seal Hunt Disaster (for more info read the book Death On The Ice by Cassie Brown) and her own wreck as told in the song The Wreck Of The Steamship Florizel.

The third verse deals with the Battle of Beaumont Hamel during which, at 8:45 am, on July 1, 1916, 800 Newfoundlanders went over the top of the trench into no-mans land and were promptly slaughtered. The battle ended within thirty minutes and, when roll call was taken the next morning, only 68 of the original 800 answered.

The fourth verse describes the city mourning for their lost youths. Entire familes were wiped out, including the Ayr family (prominent merchants). The future of what was called the Ayr dynasty was dependent on four of C R Ayre's grandsons, all of whom died on July 1, 1916.


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Notes On Tabs:
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All tabs have been contributed by visitors to this site and represent their interpretation of the tune. We are unable to verify their accuracy.

[C] Two recruiting sergeants came [Am] to the CLB,
For the [F] sons of the [C] merchants to join the Blue [G] Puttees;
[F] All hands [C] enlisted, five hundred young [Am] men,
[C] Enlist, ye [F] Newfoundlanders, and [G] come follow [C] me.


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