Major Jack
16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion

Throughout our 100 Days of Vimy posts, we discussed the rise of war poetry and its use as a form of commemoration and mourning.The troops themselves were continuously writing their own poems and songs, often honouring respected leaders and lost friends. Conversely, there were also a great number written to humorously attack the military hierarchy or make light of the dismal life the men were now living. Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature some of the works from the troops. This week we share “Major Jack”, written for Lieutenant-Colonel John Edwards ‘Jack’ Leckie, of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish). Dashing, impulsive and thriving on action and adventure, one soldier said of Leckie: “We liked the way he talked, and the way he walked.” (Zuehlke, Brave Battalion, p. 83). “Major Jack” was first published in the 16th Battalion’s trench magazine, Brazier.

 

Major Jack
16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion


Come call your boys together,

The 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) attend the funeral of another respected and well-liked officer, Major R. Bell-Irving at Cagnicourt, France in October 1918.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-003324.

Major Jack,

They will follow to the death,

Where you lead them, when you need them,

Major Jack.

For they know you’re tried and true,

Major Jack,

And they’ll each along with you

Do their whack.

In your heart no thought of fear,

On your lips a word of cheer,

Ever ready, cool and steady,

Major Jack.

(Zuehlke, Brave Battalion, p. 83)