Andy McElroe
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John Renfro Davis

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This song written by Percy French in collaboration with Sir John Ross. It was published in 1888, the first song French published after Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.

In Egypt in 1884, Lord Wolseley headed an expedition to the Nile to rescue General Charles Gordon, who was besieged at Khartoum in the Sudan. They arrived on January 28, 1885, two days after the city had fallen and Gordon had been killed.

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My brother Andy said, that for a soldier he would go,
So great excitement came upon the house of McElroe.
My father sold a bog-hole to equip him for the war.
And my mother sold the cushions of her Sunday jaunting car.
And when brave Andy reach'd the front, 'twas furious
     work he made,
They appointed him a private in the Crocodile Brigade.
The sound of Andy's battle cry struck terror thro' the foe.
His foot was on the desert and his name was McElroe.
At least that's what the letter said that came across the foam.
To Andy's anxious relatives awaiting him at home.
The papers say he ran away before he met the foe.
But that was quite unlike the style of Andy McElroe.


One morning brave Lord Wolseley for a battle felt inclined;
But all could see the general had something on his mind;
Sez he, 'My staff, 'twere dangerous to face yon deadly foe,
Unless we're sure that quite prepared is Andy McElroe.'
Then Andy cried, 'I'm here, my lord, and ready for the fray,'
'Advance then,' cried Lord Wolseley, 'and let every trumpet bray.'
Then England, Ireland, Scotland, rolled together on the foe,
But far ahead of everyone rushed Andy McElroe.
At least, that's what the letter said that came across the foam
To Andy's anxious relatives, awaiting him at home.
The government despatches had another tale- but no!
We won't believe a word against brave Andy McElroe.


The Mahdi had gone up a tree, a spyglass in his eye,
To see his Paynim chivalry the northern prowess try;
But soon he saw a form of dread, and cried in tones of woe,
'Be jabers let me out of this - there's Andy McElroe.'
Then down he hurried from his tree, and straight away he ran,
To keep appointments, as he said, in distant Kordofan,
And fled those Arab soldiery like sand siroccos blow,
Pursued (with much profanity) by Andy McElroe.
At least, that's what he told us when returning o'er the foam
To greet his anxious relatives, awaiting him at home.
So sing the song of triumph, and let all your bumpers flow,
In honour of our countryman, brave Andrew McElroe.


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From The Songs of Percy French
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