Les Morton's Navy

by David Blagrove

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We are Les Morton's Navy, we never go to sea
The nearest that we get there is down at Limehouse Quay
Bill Wilson, Alec Purcell, Jack Monk and old Ray White
We are Les Morton's Navy; bugger you Jack we're all right.

We are Les Morton's Navy, the cream of boating men
The Company we work for is called the Willow Wren.
From Brentford up to Tyseley, along the Hatton Flight
You'll always hear us shouting "bugger you Jack we're all right".

We work for Leslie Morton a very kindly man,
On Wednesdays at the "Nelson" he buys us Black and Tan.
He gets us lots of orders, and pays us now and then,
Three cheers for Leslie Morton, the King of Willow Wren!
David Blagrove stated that this was 'a composite song, the work of several hands (or throats), and based on the WW1 "We are Fred Karno's Army". Leslie Morton, Managing Director of Willow Wren Canal Carrying Company, founded 1954, was an ex-deep sea sailor, trained in sail, and later in the 1920's-30's manager of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co. He was responsible for the great expansion of the fleet during the early 1930's, and from 1954 until his death in 1968 carried out a rearguard action to try and safeguard canal carrying. He was ultimately unsuccessful in this, although some canal carrying still survives, largely inspired by his campaign, but at the same time the fact that large scale carrying went on until 1970 prevented the closure of large parts of the system, which is now available for people's pleasure.'

Tune "The Church's one foundation"