Mad Martins

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In the Navy (Jonathan's Chantey & Hornpipe)



In the navy, all at sea;
Heave away, me bonnie boys:
To the Enterprise, they press-ganged me;
Heave away, me boys.

I'm a foretop man on the Hercules;
Up aloft, me bonnie boys:
A finer vessel never sailed the seas;
Up aloft, me boys.

From the Danes we won great ships and store;
Steal away, me bonnie boys:
Such a prize as England never saw;
Steal away, me boys.

In the Bay of Biscay, I was saved;
Haul me up, me bonnie boys:
Four times from a watery grave;
Haul me up, me boys.

I got best cheer down Lisbon way;
Party on me, bonnie boys:
"Bone star bone, for you restay”;
Party on, me boys.

From Lisbon to Cadiz, in the gunner's crew;
Blast away, me bonnie boys:
What damage can those shore boys do?
Blast away, me boys.

Parson Saxe, they nicknamed me;
Pray away, me bonnie boys:
More fit for the church than a life at sea;
Pray away, me boys.

Pipe all hands to a Sunday dance;
Play away, me bonnie boys:
God's disapproval we will chance;
Play away, me boys.

(Lyrics & Music: Gary Miller)

© 2017 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS


Recording Credits

Mick Tyas - Lead & Backing Vocals, Mandolin, Percussion, Hand-Claps
Gary Miller - Bouzouki, Percussion, Hand-Claps, Backing Vocals
Glenn Miller - Accordion
Iain Petrie - Percussion, Hand-Claps, Backing Vocals
Frank Meadley - Bodhran, Backing Vocals
Richard Doran - Backing Vocals
'Glasgow' Jimmy - Backing Vocals


Jonathan Martin's Providential Escape from a watery grave in the Bay of Biscay, four different times [engraving], William Martin.
In: The Life of Jonathan Martin, Tanner, by Himself, 2nd Edition,
Jonathan Martin, 1826.


Additional Text

In 1804, at the age of twenty-two, having completed his apprenticeship, and in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, Jonathan became “intent on travelling to foreign countries”. He travelled to London where he was deceived into boarding a ship called the ‘Enterprise’, to find himself press-ganged as an ordinary seaman in the Royal Navy. He was taken aboard the ‘Hercules’, a seventy-four gun battleship, destined for Copenhagen. He “felt deeply concerned for (his) soul, convinced that (he) was not ready to die.” He “got safe home, however, with such a prize as England never saw before.” Many other dangerous adventures followed throughout Spain and Portugal, including taking part in the famous evacuation of the British Army from Corruna during Sir John Moore’s retreat, and surviving falling overboard on four separate occasions. He immediately followed his service in the Royal Navy with a spell in the Merchant Navy, completing a total period of six consecutive years at sea.


Video Clips

'In the Navy' live at the Premiere of
'Mad Martins: The Story of the Martin Brothers'
The City Theatre, Durham, England, 5th October 2019