Battles involving England - Seven Years' War

Song about 1759

Britain and France were at war in North America from 1754-1763. In 1756 the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War. This was a major military conflict involving all of the major European powers of the period. The war pitted Prussia and Britain and a coalition of smaller German states against an alliance consisting of Austria, France, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony. Russia temporarily changed sides in the later stages of the war. Portugal (on the side of Great Britain) and Spain (on the side of France) entered the conflict later. The war was described by Winston Churchill as the first "world war", as it was the first conflict in human history to be fought around the globe, although most of the combatants were either European nations or their overseas colonies.

Battle of the Plains of Abraham 1759 (location)

One important area of the war took place in Canada. General James Wolfe defeated the French forces at the Plains of Abraham outside the city of Quebec. He died during this battle. The result of this and other military actions was that the victorious British controlled all of eastern North America.

'A view of the taking of Quebec' by Hervey Smyth, General Wolfe's aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec, 1797
"A view of the taking of Quebec" by by Hervey Smyth, General Wolfe's aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec, 1797

Heart of Oak

Lyrics by actor David Garrick. The "wonderful year" referenced in the first verse is 1759-60, during which British forces were victorious in several significant battles: the Battle of Lagos on 19 August 1759, the battle of Quebec City on 13 September 1759 and the Battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November 1759, foiling a French invasion project. These were followed a few months later by the Battle of Wandiwash in India on 22 January 1760.

Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
To add something more to this wonderful year;
To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
For who are so free as the sons of the waves?

Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,
We always are ready; Steady, boys, steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

We never see the French but we wish them to stay,
They always see us and they wish us away;
If they run, we will follow, we will drive them ashore,
And if they won't fight, we can do no more.

They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.

Britannia triumphant, her ships sweep the sea,
Her standard is Justice - her watchword, 'be free.'
Then cheer up, my lads, with one heart let us sing,
Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen, and king.

Wikipedia (external site) for further information       -       Battles index