We are the Billy Boys

Melody -

Hurrah! Hurrah! We are the Billy Boys;
Hurrah! Hurrah! We make a lot of noise;
We're up to here, we never fear - we all are Billy's sons,
We are the Glasgow Billy Boys.

We belong to Glasgow we're Orange and we're true
Scotland is our countr-ee our colours white and blue
We're Protestants and proud of it we're known near and far
Glasgow Billy Boys they call us.

2. On the 12th day of July you'll find us in the walk
With our brother Orangemen, Sandy, Bill and Jock
Billy is our hero, he beat them at the Boyne
Glasgow Billy boys they call us.

3. We believe in Freedom, we won our right that day
At the Battle of the Boyne - we're very proud to say.
James he was defeated - Justice had been done
Raise now a glass to King William.

4?. Hoorah, Hoorah, we are the Billy Boys,
Hoorah, Hoorah, we are the Billy Boys,
Up tae yer knees in Finian blood - surrender or ye'll die.
We are the Brigtoon* Billie Boys.

* Brigtown being the district where they were dominant. The last line was altered to "We are King Billy's Orange Boys" after the gang's timely demise in the 1930s.

In the 1920's and 30's, Glasgow was notorious for its "Hard Men", gangs of thugs who terrorised decent people and fought bloody battles against other gangs. The Billy Boys was one such mob, being token Protestant, they claimed to folow King William of Orange and fought mainly against similar Roman Catholic gangs. This war their war song.

Concerned at the wave of violence, authorities appointed a policeman named Sillitoe as the new Chief Constable for the Glasgow area. He quickly assembled his own gang of tough policemen and started combatting the thugs on their own territory. One evening he received a message that the Billy Boys were on the march - very drunk - and that their leader was carrying a baby girl in his arms.

Sillitoe formed a blockade with his men, then seeing that the child was in danger, led the charge to snatch her from the thug's arms. In the subsequent melee the Boys were routed and their ringleaders were ultimately jailed. Sillitoe greatly eased the problem of violence in Glasgow although it remains to this day. - With thanks to Tom McRae of Australia for this enlightening commentary.

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