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With Wellington We’ll Go

[ Roud 5824 ; G/D 1:153 ; Ballad Index GrD1153 ; Bodleian Roud 5824 ; Mudcat 152806 ; trad.]

Karl Dallas: The Cruel Wars

Arthur Wood (82) of Middlesborough sang The Battle of Waterloo (With Wellington We’ll Go) in 1962 to Colin S. Wharton who collected songs in the North Riding of Yorkshire for his Leeds University Thesis. It was published in 2019 on the Musical Traditions anthology of songs from the Colin Wharton Collecion, Songs of the North Riding.

The Halliard sang With Wellington We’ll Go in a 1968 demo for their heir Saga record label. But it took until 2006 for the album The Last Goodnight to be released. They noted:

This appears in John Ashton’s Modern Street Ballads and we set it in the unusual key of G minor and with a slow and rather sombre tune which, as we saw it, was a counterweight to all the glory and emphasised the enormous loss of life. We used the opening lines of verse two as a chorus and scrapped the other two lines mainly concerned with blood, limbs and cannon balls.

Steve Turner sang With Wellington We’ll Go in 2023 on his Tradition Bearers album Curious Times. He noted:

Another song from The Halliard song book. Nic [Jones] and Dave [Moran] spent much of their time in libraries while travelling the country to do gigs in the 1960s, researching broadside collections and certainly made it worthwhile by coming up with this fine tune in G minor to another tale of the Battle of Waterloo from John Ashton’s Modern Street Ballads.


Steve Turner sings With Wellington We’ll Go

It was on the eighteenth day of June Napoleon did advance,
The finest troops that he could raise within the realms of France.
Their glittering eagles shone around and boldly looked the foe,
But Briton’s lion soon tore their wings on the plains of Waterloo.

Chorus (after each verse):
With Wellington we’ll go, with Wellington we’ll go,
Brave Wellington commanded us on the plains of Waterloo.

The number of the French men at Waterloo were slain
Was near to sixty thousand laid upon the plain;
And forty thousand of them fell on that fatal day
Where our brave British heroes their prowess did display.

It’s now the dreadful night comes on, how dismal is the plain,
When the Prussians and the English found above ten thousand slain,
Brave Wellington and Blücher bold most nobly drove their foes,
And Buonaparte’s Imperial crown was taken at Waterloo.

Now peace be to their honoured souls that fell that glorious day
And may the plough ne’er raise their bones nor cut the sacred clay.
But let the place remain a waste, a terror to the foe,
When trembling Frenchmen pass that way they’ll think of Waterloo.