Our Ships Are In The Fat (James Murphy) with lyrics
'Tis nice to know that soon we'll see the dandelions in bloom,
'Tis grand to hear our Councillors will for others soon make room
To make our little town, we pray, clean as a Sunday hat,
But better still to know to-day our ships are in the fat.
The news is flashed across the wires from o'er the frozen foam,
It brings great joy to many fires in our dear island home;
For after all the ocean's spoil makes us throw up our hat,
Hurrah, my boys, for skins and oil, our ships are in the fat.
'Tis nice to see a hockey match where boys kick up a fuss.
And 'tis lively in a mix-up when they're joined by "Herder Gus";
But you hockey chaps ain't in it with the men of gaff and bat.
The richest prize they win it when the ships are in the fat.
A smile is on the maiden who watched the ships go by
That morning out near Chain Rock with a tear drop in her eye;
And your wife no doubt is thinking of the latest style of hat,
And tells you as she's winking, the ships are in the fat.
God bless our hardy sealers and keep them safe and sound,
Until their ships are laden and coming homeward bound;
They are our greatest toilers, we all must admit that,
Three cheers for the swilers, our ships are in the fat.
####.... James Murphy [1867-1931] March 19, 1914 ....####
Published on March 20, 1914 in the Evening Telegram, St. John's, NL, William J. Herder [1849-1922], founder and publisher.
Chain Rock - one of two rocks located on opposite sides of the Narrows, the only entrance to St. John's Harbour - Chain Rock on the battery side and Pancake Rock on the opposite. The space between the two rocks is 174 metres (570.87 feet). The rocks were used as early as 1770 with a chain stretched between them to prevent illegal entry of enemy ships. During World War Two a large chain was attached to this rock and anti-submarine booms were attached across the entrance to St. John's Harbour, connecting to Fort Amherst in order to prevent the entry of German U-boats into the harbour.
From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Fat - ³ seals; the seal herd; especially in the phrases in the fat, strike the fat.
Swiler; also sealer, siler, soiler, swoiler - ¹ one engaged to hunt seals from a vessel in the ice-floes off Newfoundland and Labrador or in the Gulf of St Lawrence; ² vessel engaged in hunting seals in the ice-floes.
There were seven Herder brothers, sons of William J. Herder who started The Evening Telegram in 1879. All seven brothers were hockey "stars" who had played for club and St. John's teams from as early as 1900. In 1935, a few months after two of his older brothers died only a couple of months apart, and wishing to remember them and three other brothers who had died, Ralph Herder, the second youngest, created the Herder Memorial Trophy.
The seven Herder brothers:
1) Captain Arthur, a lawyer died of first world war wounds in 1917.
2) Hubert was a lieutenant when he was killed at Beaumont Hamel July 1, 1916.
3) William was a vice-president of The Evening Telegram when he died in 1934.
4) Douglas died from an illness in 1908.
5) Augustus (Herder Gus) was vice-president of The Evening Telegram when he died in 1934.
6) Ralph, also a lieutenant, was seriously wounded July 1, 1916, and died in 1955.
7) James was the last of the seven brothers and died in 1970.