Children's chant

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Feb 1 16:39:54 UTC 2005

"Colonel Bogey's March" was composed in 1914 by "Kenneth Alford" (Frederick J. Ricketts). It is said by Brophy & Partridge to have been the most popular march among British Army bands
during World War I.

Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: Children's chant

>It was widely sung in all anglophone armies during WWII.

Right, but from what I understand the present tense would have
allowed the first line to be rendered as "Hitler # has only got one
ball". But actually that brings up the question of chronology.
BotRK came out in 1957. Was the tune already well-established during
WWII and just popularized by the movie? What's the story?

> BTW, "Goebbels" is pronounced in this unique case to rhyme with "no balls."

Indeed, but given the usual random anglicization tendencies combined
with a perhaps intentional disrespect I could imagine this
pronunciation would not have been restricted to the exigencies of


>I also heard it from a college chum in 1970.
>George Thompson wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: George Thompson
>Subject: Re: Children's chant
>Larry Horn submits:
>> and then there was the related (via Col. Bogey rather than Disney, of
>> course) verse, discussed on the list some years ago,
>> Hitler # had only one, left ball,
>> Goering # had two but they were small.
>> Himmler # had something similar,
>> And Goebbals
>> Had no balls
>> At all.
>Brendan Behan quotes this in Borstal Boy.
>George A. Thompson
>Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
>Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
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