A Short History of Our School Hymn

1.    My original question to Fr. Zee:

Dear George:

May I trouble you a little bit?

I would like to know a bit more about the history of our school hymn - "Our Captain and Our King".

I vaguely remember that maybe during assemblies, special occasions and speech days, we might have
sung the school  hymn.  But I don't remember any teacher or father teaching us how to sing the hymn.

Do you know who composed the words, and who composed the melody?  Was the melody "copied"
from somehwere else?  It  doesn't sound like any of the Gregorian chants that I have heard, or music
around the Renaissance era.  Was it quite  modern, say, a 20th century composition?

I'm curious, and would like to know more.

Thanks for your help in advance.



2a.    Fr. Zee's reply to me:

Best wishes.

Note: forwarded message attached (from Mr. Naylor)

2b.    Fr. Zee's email to Fr. Naylor:

Can you help Harry.  Mr. Wong is a past student, classmate of Chiu Hey Gau.


3.    From Fr. Naylor:

Dear Hin-Shing,

Kung Hei Fat Choy, Maan Sz Yu Yi, Tsung Sam Shoh Yuk

Fr. Zee referred your questions to me. They were also asked by students preparing for the 80th
Anniversary   celebrations.

Our Captain and Our King are words that express a Jesuit spirituality- we join Christ to conquer all
evil, under the  banner of the Cross. Christ is Our King, victorious by His Resurrection over death and
sin. We extert ourselves  with  Him, first against our selfishness and evil inclinations and with the
weapons of self denial and justice, and then to  Be For Others and With others, to build a better
healthier and happioer society.

We could say that the Society of Jesus began in Rome about 1560, with ideals and sentiments like the
above. The  English words must have come from Stonyhurst College in Northern England, where the
Jesuits had a famous College as  far back as 1780. Irish Jesuits followed much of the Jesuit customs
there, and surely the words came from there.

The music is a German Marching Song whose origins I have not heard about. It is interesting.

If you listen to the BBC World Service, the news always begins with a few bars of a march, which is
originally from  Northern Ireland and was a regimental tune. The music could go back to celtic origins
beyond 1660! but its use was  popular.

So they you are! Again take the Present Chinese National Anthem of PRC. It roots are in 1911, and
 do not know  anyone who knows its history or author! Try and find out yourself.

In the meanwhile, Our Captain and Our King is close to my heart, and my background since I became
a Jesuit in 1951.  But in Hong KOng Wah Yan , they changed their school song about 1970. Fr. Patrick
McGovern used an Irish Song and put  some new words to it, but not in the Jesuit tradition.

Best wishes, Yours sincerely, Fr. Harold Naylor s.j

Chiu Hei Kaau is my best friend in WYK, but he retired in July 2004, but he is still around.