Our Ships Are In The Fat (James Murphy)

'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, March, 19, 1914 ....####
Published on March 20, 1914, in the Evening Telegram, St John's, NL, William J Herder [1849-1922], founder and publisher.

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.

From Wikipedia:
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.

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 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.

From: Wikipedia
Herder Memorial Trophy - donated in 1935, was retired and replaced by a replica. Over the years additional tiers were added to the original base, filled with shields bearing the names and years of championship teams. St Bonaventure's star Edward (Key) Kennedy (1911-1955) was the model for the hockey player that stands atop the original trophy. It is well-known that trophy-donor Ralph Herder took a photo of Kennedy, in playing pose, to New York where he had a model made and then had the figure cast in silver. The original trophy was retired and a replica was made which is currently presented to each team to hold until the next championship playoffs.

~ The 2015 Herder Memorial Trophy ~

Herder Memorial Trophy


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