Colonel Bogey March

The Colonel Bogey March is a popular march that was written in 1914 by lieutenant F. J. Ricketts, a British army bandmaster, who later became the director of music for the Royal Marines in Plymouth.

As service personnel were not encouraged to have a professional life outside the army, Ricketts published Colonel Bogey and his other compositions under the pseudonym Kenneth Alford.
Supposedly the tune was inspired by a military golfer who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase (a descending minor third interval) instead of shouting "Fore!". This descending interval begins each line of the melody.

The name "Colonel Bogey" began in the late 19th century as the imaginary "standard opponent" of the Colonel Bogey scoring systerm, and by the Edwardian times the Colonel had been adopted by the golfing world as the presiding spirit of the course. Edwardian golfers on both sides of the Atlantic often played matches against "Colonel Bogey". Nowadays "Bogey" is a golfing term, meaning "one over pas".
The sheet music was a milion seller and the march was recorded many times. At the start of WW II the march was popular in England and the British army and it was used by the 10th and 50th Battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a march-past. In England it became an unofficial national anthem to rudeness, as it was set to a popular song.

Writer Donough O'Brien claims it was his father Toby O'Brien who wrote the original of the lyrics in 1939 as British propaganda. Toby O'Brien was publicist for the British Council at the time. The first version started with the words:
"Göring has only got one ball", Hitler came in the second line "with two small ones".
In later versions the positions were reversed. The final line of the original and some later versions ends with the word play that Goebbels had no balls.

The numerous versions, at least 14 variations, including the frankly obscene, reflect the enthusiasm with which Colonel Bogey was adopted as a British army marching-song, then as a popular song of defiance against Hitler's Nazi-German regime in the other branches of the British armed forces, and amongst British civilians, from 1940 onwards.

O'Brien's version

Göring has only got one bal
lHitler's [are] so very smal
lHimmler's so very similar
And Goebbels has no balls at all

Most common Variation

Hitler has only got one ball,
Göring has two but very small,
Himmler is somewhat sim'lar,
But poor Goebbels has no balls at all.
A nice version from a Belgian primary school

Den oorlog, dat was echt niet fijn,
't Is leuker om vredevol te zijn,
Dus laat ons, hier allen samen
Vrolijk fluitende vrienden zijn


The war was no fun at all,
It's nicer to live in peace with all
So let us, all together
Be cheerful whistling friends
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