My Boy Jack (poem)

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"My Boy Jack" is a 1915 poem by Rudyard Kipling. Although Kipling wrote it after his son John (called Jack) an 18-year-old Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards disappeared in September 1915 during the Battle of Loos, during World War I, it was published as a prelude to a story in his book Sea Warfare written about the Battle of Jutland in 1916.[1] The imagery and theme is maritime in nature and as such it is about a generic nautical Jack (or Jack Tar), though emotionally affected by the death of Kipling's son.

Text of the poem[edit]


My Boy Jack is the name of a 1997 play written by English actor David Haig. It examines how grief affected Rudyard Kipling and his family following the death of his son, John (known as Jack), at the Battle of Loos in 1915. It includes a recitation of the poem, My Boy Jack.[2] Ben Silverstone first played Jack Kipling on stage, while Daniel Radcliffe took over the role for the ITV screen adaptation of the same name. Haig played Rudyard Kipling on both stage and screen.

Musical settings[edit]

"Have You News of My Boy Jack?" set to music by Edward German in 1917.

"My Boy Jack", song for medium voice and piano by Betty Roe.[3]

Neofolk singer Andrew King recorded a song showcasing the lyrics to this poem.

Setting for voice and concertina by Peter Bellamy.[4][5]

Bellamy's version was set to a three part harmony by the English folk group Lady Maisery on their 2011 debut album 'Weave and Spin'.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sea Warfare, "Destroyers at Jutland", notes on the text by AlastairWilson
  2. ^ Selby, Al. - News: Review My Boy Jack. -
  3. ^ Seven Songs by Betty Roe - Thames Publishing 1993.
  4. ^ Recorded on the LP "Keep on Kipling" (FE 032) Side 2, track 6.
  5. ^ Bellamy's version recorded on the CD "Husk and Bark" sung and arranged by "Hex" 2014. Soundcloud link -

External links[edit]