Who fears to wear the blood red badge?

The ITGWU badge 1913. Courtesy Francis Devine

The ITGWU badge 1913. Courtesy Francis Devine

 

Who fears to wear the blood red badge?’ , sung to the tune of ‘Who Fears To Speak Of 98’, appeared in the Irish Worker on October 11th, 1913, written by “Mac” - also a regular contributor as “Euchan”. Mac was AP [Andrew Patrick] Wilson, born in Linlithgow in 1886 to Covenanter parents and reared in Dumfries.

Under the spell of Robert Burns, Wilson became an actor and stage manager arriving in Dublin with Nugent Monck’s production at the Abbey. Wilson joined Delia Larkin’s Irish Workers’ Dramatic Group, producing and starring in plays in Liberty Hall and contributing prose, poems and plays to the Irish Worker, especially the celebrated Christmas Number, effectively a literary supplement which he most likely edited.

This included his play Victims, one of the first dramas set in a tenement slum. After the Irish Worker’s suppression in 1914, he was general manager of the Abbey Theatre until 1915, producing his own play, The Slough, about Irish poor. He was co-creator, the Scottish National Players, 1921-1924; directed silent films and Scotland’s first full-length feature film; wrote many radio for BBC and stage plays; and was the major figure in early 20th century Scottish theatre. He died in 1950.

Who fears to wear the blood red badge?
Upon his manly breast,

What scab obeys the vile command

Of Murphy and the rest;

He’s all a knave and half a slave

Who slights his union thus

But true men, like you men,

Will show the badge with us.

They dared to fling the manly brick

They wrecked a blackleg tram,

They dared give Harvey Duff a kick,

They didn’t care a damn.

They lie in gaol, they can’t get bail

Who fought their corner thus,

But you men, with sticks men,

Must make the Peelers “cuss”.

We rose in sad and weary days

To fight the workers’ cause,

We found in Jim, a heart ablaze,

To break down unjust laws.

But ‘tis a sin to follow him,

Says Murphy and his crew,

Though true men, like you men,

Will stick to him like glue.

Good luck be with him, he is here

To win for us the fight;

To suffer for us without fear,

To champion the right.

So stick to Jim, let nothing dim

Our ardour in the fray,

And true Jim, our own Jim,

Will win our fight today.