Hearts of Oak

Discussion in 'History' started by Welbexian_RN, May 10, 2006.

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  1. Please excuse my historical ignorance, but I’ve just been watching Sharpe and noticed that one of the ensigns sang “hearts of oak†just before the regiment went into battle. This might just be me but I always thought that “hearts of oak†was an RN tune; could any one please shed light on this for me, thanks?
  2. Heart of Oak

    Come cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
    To add something more to this wonderful year,
    To honour we call you, not press you like slaves,
    For who are so free as the sons of the waves?

    Heart of oak are our ships,
    Jolly tars are our men,
    We always are ready,
    Steady, boys, steady,
    We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

    We ne'er see our foes but we will them to stay,
    They never see us but they will use away,
    If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,
    And if they won't fight us, we cannot do more.

    Heart of oak are our ships,
    Jolly tars are our men,
    We always are ready,
    Steady, boys, steady,
    We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

    They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
    They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
    But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
    Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.

    Heart of oak are our ships,
    Jolly tars are our men,
    We always are ready,
    Steady, boys, steady,
    We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again

    Yes, all sounds fairly Maritime to me! Maybe it was just for the We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again bit. I wondered the same myself when I saw it the other night!
  3. I saw that too - seem to recall he sang the line "Hearts of Oak are our ships twice to cover the line "Jolly tars are our men". Did think it weird.

    [sad spotter mode]Hearts of Oak was also sung as a 'sea shanty' in Star Trek by Jean Luc Picard (sp?), or at least some alien that was supposed to have taken over his body at the time.[/sad spotter mode].
  4. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    I noticed that too, wasn't that the East India Companys' own little mercenary army though? probably full of ex-matlows trying to find a second career!
  5. I noticed they also did it in an earlier Sharpe before the most recent, in both cases I think it was just before the forlorn hope went into attack a besieged enemy, correct me if I'm wrong.
  6. Well if your on a good bet to die then a good rousing song might help gird the loins so to speak,i suppose it was cos "Hang out your washing on the Siegfreid Line" hadnt been written by then????LOL
  7. I agree, but why hearts of oak and not the plains of waterloo or the british grenadier?
  8. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    Forlorn hope! What a wonderful name for the least promising job in the regiment, can you just imagine their recruiting problems! Good promotion prospects though as a plus point.
  9. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    Might be worth e-mailing these guys, they seem to be a bit involved in Sharpe. Cornwell very rarely gets it wrong and is keen to ensure the series is accurate:


    Failing that contact Bernard yourself:


    If you find the answer do us a favour and post it on here.
  10. Roger, will do.
  11. Quite agree. Two other things that first puzzled me about this excellent drama, but which I've subsequently checked out.......

    Firsty, the 'standard' that the British/Indian Army soldiers carried... Union Flag at the staff and red and white stripes on the fly - a bit like some kind of USA flag. It was the Ensign of the British East India Company. Like this (sorry it's a bit obscured)...

    Secondly, the Sharpe series, as this episode, were shown on the ITV Channel - and now BBC Worldwide have muscled in to look after the distribution, so the production credits became "Celtic Films Entertainment / Picture Palace Films / BBC America"
  12. Jus to update, I recieved the following email from the Sharpe Appreciation Society:

    "You are quite right of course, it is a sailors shanty, but I think if I am right it was also sung by others including the army too. I am not too sure about this, and it could be that John Tams has just adapted the song for the film, I'll email him and see what he says!"
  13. The British East India Company were both a military AND a maritime force, so it's not too difficult to see that they may have sung something similar. Not exactly a "sailors shanty", though. After all, it's the Naval March. Music by Dr William Boyce and words by David Garrick (the actor?) in 1759. There were also some American words to it, written in time for the American Revolution. Dr Boyce retired to Dorset when he became deaf. Which is nice.
  14. The "Wonderful Year" in the song is 1759. Full of Naval and Military successes. Words from a David Garick production to celebrate that year. So quite possibly popular with Pongo's as well. Coincidentaly the year that HMS VICTORY's keel was laid and Arthur Guiness started brewing.
  15. also the year of birth of Lord Horatio Nelson!i believe he was born on the very same day as well,spooky or what?????
  16. This is the reply I got from John Tams:
    'Hearts of Oak' - not my choice either, but it played a part earlier in the series and Tom wanted to use it again. It's very much associated with the sea - a parlour, landlocked song in reality and nowt much to do with soldiery. But whatever! I wrote 'Stand To Me Bonny Lads' as an antedote which seemed to me more fitting of soldiery.

    So it turns out it was a bit to do with hoice for the series but they could have sung it, it is a very good tune!
  17. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    Bit of artistic license then!

    Nice that John Tams wrote back to you though.
  18. 1759 - Guinness is born - now THAT is interesting !! :)
  19. As a further query - is Naval History still a subject in Naval training ?

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