Pages Navigation Menu

Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles


Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles


Highland sons seventeen to forty years

Five foot three or more your chance is here

To repel all republican principles

With the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles


The Regent Prince is henceforth enlisting

Aspiring men of imperturbable discipline

Whom of heart show vim unquenchable

For the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles


Flinty is the damsel who deigns to resist

The charms of a chivalrous artillerist

Yet in emerald cape, crimson sash and serge pantaloons

You’ll be the envy of grenadiers, sedentaries and dragoons


At the cessation of hostilities, imagine possibilities

You’ll be Colonel of Militia - even Justice of the Peace

Or a member yes indeed of The House of Assembly

The very thought must make each maiden amourous and trembly


Make haste or castigate yourself for eternity

For passing on this golden opportunity

So if you’re steadfast, stalwart and dependable

With the pluck that destiny finds so commendable

Fall in and find out if you are ultimately expendable

With the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles!






This song is sung in the voice of a street recruitment balladeer, perhaps walking though the centre of town attempting to entice young men to enlist. Many of the song’s lyrics are taken from an actual recruitment poster (pictured above) for The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles. I was amazed by the language of the poster – it promises the soldier great fame, advancement, security and yes, success in love! It occurred to me that, although the promised rewards are different in form, some of the same enticements are used in modern day to recruit soldiers.

The reference in the song to ‘repelling republican principals’ refers to the fact that the newly independent country of the U.S.A. was/is a ‘republic’ (no king or queen) , while Great Britain was/is a constitutional monarchy.

The Glengarry Regiment saw action in battles along the upper St Lawrence, at York, Fort George, Stoney Creek, Lundy’s Lane and other locations.




Discussion Questions

1.What kinds of things does this recruitment song promise potential soldiers?

2.What qualities does the song suggest a potential soldier should have?

3. Mike Ford got his ideas for every line in this song from an 1812 recruitment poster – except one!

What is being suggested in the second-last line? Why would this not be in a real recruitment song or poster? 

4. Find, on-line, modern-day Canadian Armed Forces recruitment posters and commercials. What techniques do they use? Do they inspire? What do they suggest are reasons to enlist in the military? Do they promise personal benefits or rewards?




Related Activities

1.Create a recruitment poster for 1812, using techniques, slogans and images like a 2012 recruitment poster.

2.f television and the internet existed in 1812, what would a recruitment commercial for that war look like? Create a story-board or YouTube video to show your ideas.

3. Create a radio recruitment commercial for an 1812 regiment.

4. MUSIC: Take a popular song, find its instrumental version (no vocals) on YouTube, and sing new lyrics overtop – a recruitment song for 1812. What genre of song would you chose? Why?