Vintage Audio - Have You News Of My Boy Jack?

Cover of Valmai and Tonie Holt's book investigating the loss of Kipling's son John Click to download as MP3

Have You News Of My Boy Jack? was a poem written in 1916 by author Rudyard Kipling.

Kipling was moved to write the poem following the loss of his son John, an 18-year-old Lieutenant in the Irish Guards, during the British attack at Loos in 1915.  His son's body was never located during wartime and Kipling spent much of the final two decades of his life in a vain attempt to locate his probable grave.

Although Kipling never located his son's body it was apparently rediscovered in 1992 and his gravestone accorded formal recognition by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, although the controversial find continues to be debated today, most notably in a 1998 book by Tonie and Valmie Holt, My Boy Jack.

Reproduced below are the words to Kipling's poem, which was performed as a song by Louis Kirkby-Lunn in 1917.  Use the player above to listen to the recording.

Have You News of my Boy Jack?

"Have you news of my boy Jack?"
Not this tide.
"When d'you think that he'll come back?"
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
"Has any one else had word of him?"
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

"Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?"
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind -
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide.

'Strafing' is attacking ground troops by machine guns fired from low-flying aircraft.

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