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The Lads in Navy Blue

Date: c 1940
Overall: 310 x 245 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00018493
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:London,

User Terms

    'The Lads in Navy Blue' was written and composed by Harry Dacre in 1899. This sheet music consists of two pages and was printed by J Albert and Son Pty Ltd in Sydney. The cover features a lithographic print of HMAS SYDNEY II and HMS ACHILLES. The additional page contain lyrics and music alongside advertisements for other music publications.

    SignificanceThe lyrics, music and illustrations in this edition of sheet music represent the community pride in HMAS SYDNEY II, the Royal Australia Navy and the allied ships of the Royal Navy that served in Australia during World War II.

    HistoryJ Albert and Son Pty Ltd had the rights to print and distribute this edition of 'The Lads in Navy Blue'. Many editions were released in Australia during World War I and World War II. The designs for each edition were remarkably similar, always featuring a naval vessel or sailor in uniform or both together.

    The chorus of the song reads:
    'It is the Navy the British navy that keeps our foes at bay
    Our old song 'BRITANNIA Rules The Waves' we still can sing today
    We've got a navy a fighting navy, our neighbours know thats true
    And it keeps them in their place for they know they'd have to face
    The lively little lads in blue'

    In July 1940 HMAS SYDNEY II defeated the Italian cruiser BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI in the battle of CAPE SPADA. By January 1941 the ship was in need of refit and the ship's complement in need of rest so the vessel sailed for Australia. The crew of SYDNEY was greeted with adulation in February 1941, when they returned home to Sydney. After a refit at Garden Island and a change of command from Captain John Collins to Captain John Burnett, SYDNEY took up her duties as convoy escort in Western Australian waters. It was here that she fell foul of the German raider HSK KORMORAN on 19 November 1941. An enormous battle ensued which resulted in both vessels sinking, all 645 men on board SYDNEY were lost, while 317 KORMORAN crew survived.

    The loss of SYDNEY was devastating for the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian public. Theories abound on the actual chain of events on that fateful day including the participation of German and/or Japanese submarines. Archival research and the finding of both wrecks in March 2008 have not silenced all the theorists. The wreck of HMAS SYDNEY was located on 16 March 2008 near the coast of Steep Point Western Australia, 66 years after it sank. It was located 10 kilometres from the German ship KORMORAN.

    Sheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were fairly cheap to buy, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public outings such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatres.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Sheet music with lithographic print of RAN vessel HMAS SYDNEY and HMS ACHILLES

    Web title: The Lads in Navy Blue

    Primary title: The Lads in Navy Blue

    Related People
    Composer: Harry Dacre

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