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All on the Russian Shore (1850s)

Old Time Notes.

There are only a few people in Shoalhaven today who can look back to the fifties and recall that period when Russia
was opposed by England, France and Turkey, in a war of great slaughter of humanity. In that war there were feats of
heroic valor, particularly, by the English and French The repeated storming of Sevastapool was a feat never to be
forgotten. It was in the third assault that the French entered.

This statement is chronicled not from history book but from an account which then came to Australia months after battles
were won, and lost. It was said that when the order was given for the charge of the six-hundred that Lord Cardigan saw
the mistake but obeyed; he remarked "Here goes the last of the Cardigans." And an Irishman who heard him, said,
"And by Jacas here goes the last of the Murphys." On that occasion Captain Nolan, a Galway, gentleman, was blown to pieces.
In those days at Home there were ballads composed in regard to the war, one of which started--

As I roved out through Irish town one evening in last July,
The mother, of a soldier in tears I did espy
Saying God be with you Johnny although you are far away,
For on you my heart is breaking since you have gone to the Crimea

Johnny, I gave you learning and a trade likewise.
You need not join the Army--if you took my advice.
You need not go to Russia where cannons loudly roar
And thousands falling victims all on the Russian shore"

It was said that some of those Irish ballads were a history, of the surrounding events. Now--what a vast change in circumstances
at that time we wanted to decimate. Russia, to-day as allies of the French and English went to see them in Berlin with all haste.
And wish that the same sentiments will be as applicable to the allies. As one of our illustrious Irish orators (Curran) said of
the sojourner: "No matter whether an African or Indian sun ha burnt on his brow, the moment that he sets his foot on the sacred
soil of Britain he becomes redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled by the irresistible genious of universal emancipation."


From the NSW Newspaper the Nowra Leader 11 Sep 1914 p. 8.

I found the following fuller version of the song on

As I roved down through Irish town one evening last July,
The mother of a soldier in tears I did espy,
Saying: "God be with you, Johnny dear, though you are far from me;
For you my heart is breaking, since you went to the Crimee.

"O Johnny, I gave you schooling; I gave you a trade likewise
That you need not have joined the army had you took my advice,
You need not have gone to face your foes where cannons loudly roar,
And thousands fall their victims upon the Russian shore.

He joined the fourteenth regiment, it being a gallant corps;
They landed safe while mentioned upon the Russian shore,
He fought in four engagements with the loss of men each day,
O many's the mother shedding tears for them that's far away.

"We fought at Balaklava where we did not succeed;
Down in the Valley of Inkerman where thousands there did bleed,
'Twas on the hcights of Alma that we did gain the day,
Young Johnny mentioned all to me, though he is far away.

The fighting at Sebastopol would give the world surprise;
It being so hard to take it, the enemy were so wise.
But Paddy's sons with British guns their valor did display,
And together with the sons of France, thank God, we gained the day.

Now to conclude and finish, I mean to end my song;
I'm thankful to the great God that I've survived so long.
Likewise unto you, mother dear, for me you did adore,
I'm happy to return again to childhood's home once more.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory