This song, a popular marching tune during the Second World War in many regiments, tells the Highland version of the story of Noah’s Ark. The Calgary Highlanders still fondly sing it, though no longer when marching but at regimental mess functions where circumstances allow for it to be performed with a little more gusto. The final verses are postwar additions by the Calgary Highlanders, in praise of Calgary-area soldiers, and their friends in the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, Washington Army National Guard.
The chorus is repeated after each verse.
There’s a braw fine regiment as ilka mon should ken,
They are deevils at the fechtin’, they hate clured a sicht o’ men,
And ha’e suppit muckle whusky when the canteen they gang ben,
The Hielan’ men frae braw Glenwhorple.
Heuch! Glenwhorple Hielan’ men!
Great strong whusky-suppin’ Hielan’ men,
Hard- workin’, hairy-leggit Hielan’ men,
Slainte mhor Glenwhorple.
They were foonded by McAdam, who of a’ the men was fairst,
He resided in Glen Eden, whaur he pipit like tee burst,
Wi’ a fig leaf for a sporran, an’a pairfect Hielan thairst,
Till he stole awe’ the aipples free Glenwhorple.
When the waters o’ the deluge drookit a’ the whole world oter,
The Colonel o’ the Regiment his name was Shaun McNoah,
Sae a muckle boat he biggit an’ he sneckit up the door,
an’ he sailed awe from drooned Glenwhorple.
Then syne he sent a corporal, and gaired him find the land,
He returned wi’ an empty whusky bottle in his hand,
Sae they kent the flood was dryin’; he was fu’, ye understand,
For he’d foond a public house abune the water.
When good King Solomon was ruler o’ the Glen,
He had a hundred pipers and a thoosan’ fechtin’ men,
An’ a mighty fine establishment I hae no doot ye ken,
For he kept a sicht o’ wives in auld Glenwhorple.
Then there came a birkie bangster, who was chieftain o’ the Clan,
His name it was t’Wallace, an’ he was a fechtin’ mon,
For he harried a’ the border and awe’ the Southron ran,
Frae the dingin’ o’ the claymores o’ Glenwhorple.
When the bonnie pipes are skirlin’, an’ the lads are on parade,
I’ the braw Glenwhorple tartan, wi’ the claymore an’ the plaid,
When the Sergeant-Major’s sober an’ the Colonel’s no afraid,
O’ seein’ tartan spiders in Glenwhorple!
Eh, a bonnie sicht they mak’, when the canteen they gan ben,
then the morn’s parade is o’er, she’ll be fu’ a’ drunken, men,
An’ a thoosan’ canty kilties will be stottin, doon the Glen,
For they drink a power o’ whusky in Glenwhorple.
Now the ladies o’ the Regiment I hae no doubt ye ken,
Are as brew and sassie lassies as you’ll ere find in the glen,
Though their legs are no so hairy they can keep up with the men,
When it comes to suppin whisky in Glenwhorple.
When the monarch o’ the islands founded a’ the colonies,
And they sent the Heilan’ soldiers out across the pitchaen seas,
Well they settled in the foothills and they called it Calgary,
And they sired finer soldiers than Glenwhorple.
With the “Minutemen” we gather on the eve o’labour’s rest.
Though their shanks be clad with trews, their heiland spirit is the best.
For more than fifty years now, we have put them to the test,
marching side-by-side with soldiers of Glenwhorple.
Thank you to M’Liss Edwards, who wrote in January 2005 to point out to the webmaster that these lyrics were not located on our site:
On Remembrance Day, 2004, my son, who is a Sea Cadet with the Furious Corps #80 in Drumheller, and I attended the ceremonies and march to the Centotaph. Some members of the Calgary Highlanders were present and after the ceremonies we all ajourned to the Legion. There we had the pleasure of hearing and seeing the performance of a song that recounted the history of the regiment.
The refrain included a line about hairy-legged Highland men. Are the words to this recorded somewhere, either written or in sound? We would love to have them.
My son is very interested in military history as his older brother served in the King’s Own, his grandfather served in the US Army in Korea and Europe, retiring as a colonel, and a cousin is currently serving in Iraq with the US Marines. As a Sea Cadet there is much emphasis on military history. There have been Sea Cadets in Drumheller for 60 years. His father was an Air Cadet and a cousin is right now in Medicine Hat.