Song: 'The Boers Have Got My Daddy'

‘The Boers Have Got My Daddy’, composed by Mills and Castling and originally sung by Tom Costello.


This morning in a busy street,
A tiny lad I spied,
With paper hat, and little wooden
Sword slung by his side;
Said I, 'Good morning, Gen'ral!'
In a playful sort of way,
'I see by your appearance you're
Preparing for the fray.'
He stood up to attention,
Looked at me with flashing eye,
Then gripped his little wooden sword
As he made this reply -

The Boers have got my daddy
My soldier Dad;
I don't like to hear my Mammy sigh,
I don't like to see my Mammy cry;
So I'm going in a big ship
Across the raging main,
And I'm going to fight the Boers, I am,
And bring my Daddy home again!

I smiled down at the youngster, though
A lump came in my throat,
And marvell'd at the pluck beneath
That little ragged coat.
To hear the way that kiddy talked
It really was sublime,
But there you are! The old, old tale
A Briton all the time!
Said he, 'I've wrote to Gen'ral Bobs,
To join his gallant band
I'll pay the naughty Boers for keeping Daddy when I land!


I learnt his father was a private
In an Irish corps,
But when I heard the name I knew
He'd never see him more;
For in the list of casualties
I'd only read that day,
Beneath the scorching veldt that youngster's
Gallant father lay.
The nipper left me standing there,
And marched away with pride,
But turned his little curly head
Again to me and cried -


Community contributions

7 comments have been posted about Song: 'The Boers Have Got My Daddy'

What do you know?


Posted: 14 Jul 2014

I am an ex-pat Brit now living in SA. As a child in England my mother would often sing this song. Now a SA citizen I became very interested in the Boer War and having studied it I can say that atrocities ere committed by both sides. See on You Tube The Boer War 1899-1902. A very unbiased documentary made for Channel 4.


Posted: 03 Apr 2013

My father used to sing me the chorus when I was being tucked up in bed as a child. I used to think he was singing 'boys' until I was much older and realised it was 'boers.'It always made me sad because I loved my daddy so much and thought how terrible it would have been for him to be in danger. He must have had it sung to him as a child too.


Posted: 11 Dec 2011

About 40 years ago I heard a folk singer in Glasgow sing a deeply moving song with the refrain "he fell asleep on duty" . I remember it being mentioned that it was a Boer War song. Ever since I have been trying to find the details of this song without success. Can anyone help me please?


Posted: 04 Jun 2010

May I refer you to the web page The realistic views and detailed historical events will give a better perspective. As a South African and a born-again child of God I harbour no ill-feelings or unforgiveness. However, as far as the curly headed boy of 'The Boers have got my Daddy', I can in all honesty say that the shoe was on the other foot, as you may see for yourself on this website.

David Lacey

Posted: 20 Dec 2009

Our family have sung this at Christmas & even following a few drinks after funerals. It is a beautiful song and typical of British spirit.

Cjhris Hill

Posted: 10 Sep 2009

Does anyone have the music for The Boer's have got my daddy? I have tried everything to find it. I need it by Thursday 10 Sept 2009 at the latest. Regards

Scott Menzies

Posted: 03 Jan 2009

The son of New Zealand Premier Richard 'King Dick' Seddon, Tom Seddon, notes in his autobiography The Seddons that he, his family and fellow audience members 'almost sobbed' when they heard this song sung at theatres in Wellington during the Boer War (T.E.Y. Seddon, The Seddons, Collins 1968).