Harry “Breaker” Morant, Soldier, Poet, Horse Tamer, Lover, Australian folk hero and cattle drover. Executed 101 years ago today for the murder of Boers during the Boer War. His “war crimes”, trial and subsequent execution remain a controversy today. The trial documentation “disappeared” and has never since been found. The events have been the subject of many books and articles and the film “Breaker Morant” is well worth a watch. Directed in 1980 by Bruce Bereford and starring Edward Woodward as Breaker and Bryan Brown as Peter Handcock.
The Australians want him pardoned. The South Africans object. The Queen is caught in the middle.
His poetry is the bush doggerel of the outback, and reads a lot like Banjo Patterson, Robert Service and Rudyard Kipling.
Butchered to make a Dutchman’s holiday: byHarry Breaker Morant
In prison cell I sadly sit,
A dammed crestfallen chappie,
And own to you I feel a bit–
A little bit—unhappy.
It really ain’t the place nor time
To reel off rhyming diction ;
But yet we’ll write a final rhyme
While waiting crucifixion.
No matter what end they decide
Quick-lime? or boiling oil? sir
We’ll do our best when crucified
To finish off in style, sir !
But we bequeath a parting tip
For sound advice of such men
Who come across in transport ship
To polish off the Dutchmen.
If you encounter any Boers
You really must not loot ‘em,
And, if you wish to leave these shores,
For pity’s sake, don’t shoot ‘em.
And if you’d earn a D.S.O.,
Why every British sinner;
Should know the proper way to go
Is: Ask the Boer to dinner.
Let’s toss a bumper down our throat
Before we pass to heaven,
And toast: “The trim-set petticoat
We leave behind in Devon.”