Jon informs us that this was “Written by Kipling for his ‘beloved kids,’” and attributes this as another of Peter Bellamy’s setting of a Kipling poem, although Edward Elgar also set it to music as did Edward German in 1911. Elgar’s version came at the end of WW1 and was set to a simple piano accompaniment so that it could easily be taught in schools, thus making clear the essential value of merchant shipping facing attack from the enemy at sea. Whether there is any link between Elgar’s and Bellamy’s versions I cannot say as I write, but I’ll endeavor to find out. Again if anyone can enlighten us further it will be appreciated. There’s more about Bellamy and Kipling in general on this Mudcat thread. The poem itself was first published in 1911 as one of his twenty-three poems written specially for C. R. L. Fletcher’s A School History Of England.
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