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Song: 'The Boers Have Got My Daddy'

Audio file

‘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 -



Performed by Shirley Williams (voice) and Nigel Williams (piano)
Image: Private collection

How to cite this page

Song: 'The Boers Have Got My Daddy', URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated