Heart of Oak

My mobile telephone ring tone – much to many people surprise when it goes off – is the music of the official March of the Royal Navy namely the music to Heart of Oak.

There are many who mistakenly think the titles is Hearts of Oak including surprisingly enough a number who like me served in the Royal Navy.

Incidentally it is also the official March of two other navies, the Royal Canadian and the Royal New Zealand Navies.

Why it is one of my favourite set of lyrics is not only because it is the official March of Royal Navy or that it is always played by the finest military bands in the world – Royal Marines – at the end of every one of their concerts but that it was the music Royal Navy Field Gunners marched into the arena at Earls Court to every summer until its scrapping in 1999.

(If you want to know what I am talking about simply go to Royal Navy Field Gun Competition Royal Tournament on YouTube )

Militaristic and smacking of a bygone empire it may be but there is no doubt it is also stimulating and exciting.

Heart of Oak

Come, cheer up, my lads, ’tis to glory we steer,

With heads carried high, we will banish all fear;

To honour we call you, as freemen not 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 wish them to stay,

They never see us but they wish us away;

If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,

For if they won’t fight us, what can we do more?


They say they’ll invade us these terrible foe,

They frighten our women, our children, our beaus,

But if should their flat-bottoms, in darkness set oar,

Still Britons they’ll find to receive them on shore.


We still make them fear and we still make them flee,

And drub them ashore as we drub them at sea,

Then cheer up me lads with one heart let us sing,

Our soldiers and sailors, our statesmen our king.(queen)
(Chorus X2)