“Les Darcy”


The singer mourns for Les Darcy. He recalls "how he beats, Simply eats them, Every Saturday night." "(The Yanks) called him a skiter, but he proved himself a fighter, (so they killed him, down in Memphis), Tennessee."


Les Darcy was an Australian boxer of whom great things were expected. He did not live long, and so his major bouts were few, but the Australians made him one of their great heroes. When he died in 1917, the Americans gave the cause of death as pneumonia; Australians claim he was poisoned.

Two songs about Darcy are found in the tradition; this one, based on "Way Down in Tennessee," begins, "In Maitland cemet'ry (or "Way down in Tennessee") lies poor Les Darcy...." It has been surmised that this one was written by P.F. Collins (under the pseudonym "Percy the Poet"). The piece seems to have truly entered oral tradition, however; Fahey reports collecting it twice, and his text differs significantly from that used by John Greenway.

The other, more literary, Les Darcy song has eight lines per stanza and begins "We all get a craving to roam, Far from home, o'er the foam...." - RBW

Historical references

  • May 24, 1917 - Death of Les Darcy in Memphis, Tennessee

Cross references


  • John Greenway, "Les Darcy" (on JGreenway01)


  1. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 218-219, "Les Darcy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, FaE218


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1960
Keywords: fight Australia death
Found in: Australia