The No Christmas Box Brigade, Charlestown in Co. Mayo

A poem written about Charlestown Shopkeepers in the 1914-1918 period - 'The No Christmas Box Brigade'.

This Poem or Song was written by the late Michael Colleran's father, around the time of the First World war, 1914-1918. It was written about shopkeepers in Charlestown around that time.

The late Michael Colleran was a Tailor by profession and lived in Rannarann, near Bushfield, Charlestown.


You people all both great and small
Come listen to my song,
A verse or two l'll sing to you
I'll not detain you long.


Concerning the Charlestown shopkeepers
I hear that it is said
They have organised a regiment,
Called the No Christmas Box Brigade.


There is Morrisroe and Campbell
Two foremost Generals in the field
PA Mulligan and Gavigan
That never yet did yield.


There is Moffit and Mark Henry
That never was afraid
They are the seven leading Generals
In the No Christmas Box Brigade.


These seven leading Generals
I tell you it's no yarn
They have sent to the Red Cross Hospital
Seven thousand jugs of jam
Their customers would not buy them
But the nurses at Belgrade
Can thank the Charlestown Officers
Of the No Christmas Box Brigade.


There is Eggler Duffy, Harrison and Hayden too
Yankie Murray and Whisker Carroll
I'll plainly tell to you
John Doherty from Wigan
Tommy Honan in from Clare
They are all wearing the Khaki jackets
In the No Christmas Box Brigade.


There is John Casey, the Yankie Butcher
He has made a noble stand
He has organised the butchers all
To march at his command
He drills them all around the town
And these are the words he said
I will pass them all, both big and small
In the No Christmas Box Brigade.


There is Mrs Harrington from Chapel Street
And Mrs Weaver too,
And likewise Mrs Honan and Baker O'Donoghue
Tom McDermott and Willie Mulligan
They are taking a noble stand
Of the Chapel St section of the
No Christmas Box Brigade.


There is Tom Hopkins from Ballagh St,
As you may understand
His name will pass down in history
As a thorough gentleman,
He would not join the regiment
He said I am so afraid
They won't be able to beat the Germans
In the No Christmas Box Brigade.


They then marched over to Bellaghy
It was getting very late,
But the Collerans and their allies
Soon made them to retreat,
You robbed us of our Fairs and Markets
Now you want to rob us of our trade,
And ye are all a lot of cowards
In the No Christmas Box Brigade.


Now to conclude and finish
I hope I soon get a chance,
To fight a bloody battle
In the sunny lands of France,
When the Germans will see them coming
They will sorely get afraid
Of that regiment from Charlestown
Called the No Christmas Box Brigade.


©Cathal Henry 2002