'Outlander's' 'Colonel Bogey March' Whistle Tune Origin and Meaning Explained

In Outlander Season 6, Episode 5 Jamie Fraser was forced to reckon with the reality of his situation as a traitor to the British Crown.

Back in Episode 4 of Outlander, Jamie confirmed to Claire Fraser he would be resigning from his role as Indian agent and ultimately side with the rebels, fighting for American independence in the looming American Revolution.

In Episode 5, the severity of the situation and Jamie's decision were becoming all too real, especially when he came face to face with Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, a woman he admired but one who made clear, her loyalty to the British, once the enemy she inadvertently worked against.

To make matters worse, as Episode 5 came to an end, Claire heard somebody whistling the tune to Colonel Bogey March which could have some big consequences going forward. Newsweek has everything you need to know about "Colonel Bogey March" and what it may mean going forward in Outlander.

Outlander's 'Colonel Bogey March' Whistle Tune Origin and Meaning Explained

As Jamie and Claire prepared to head from Wilmington back to their home at Fraser's Ridge, Claire was stopped in her tracks when she heard the sound of a man whistling the tune of "Colonel Bogey March."

Claire instantly recognized the tune as its origins can be traced back to the 20th century, the timeline she previously existed in before she traveled through the stones to 18th-century Scotland. As for Jamie, the tune would not be recognizable in the slightest, as it came into existence almost 200 years after his lifetime.

"Colonel Bogey March" is a British march, composed in 1914 by F.J. Ricketts, a British Army bandmaster who became the director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth. The tune was published under his pseudonym, Kenneth Alford.

The name derives from the Colonel Bogey golf scoring system (meaning one-above-par round) but the tune would go on to be used during World War II and became somewhat of an unofficial national anthem, detailed The Independent.

"Colonel Bogey March" was also used as the tune to a song written by Major Dorothy E. Nielsen of the U.S. Army division, Women's Army Corps from 1943 until 1978.

"Colonel Bogey March" has also appeared in numerous films including 1957's The Bridge on the River Kwai, the 1961 film The Parent Trap, and 1985's The Breakfast Club and remains popular today.

For example, "Colonel Bogey" is also used as a march-past by The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) of the Canadian Forces today and appeared in the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle in 2019.

Claire, born in 1918 served as a combat nurse during the Second World War, so perhaps that is where she recognized the tune from. Additionally, she would have been an adult when the aforementioned films were released, so she could have also recognized the tune from there.

The date of "Colonel Bogey March" is extremely significant in the story of Outlander as the person whistling the tune must have been alive in 1914 at the earliest to know of its existence, meaning the person whistling the song is most likely a time traveler and Claire knew it.

As the episode came to an end, audiences were treated to a quick glimpse of the mysterious man whistling the tune and for those who remember the events of Season 5, he eerily resembles Wendigo Donner (Brennan Martin), one of Claire's kidnappers.

One of Lionel Brown's (Ned Dennehy) men, Wendigo kidnapped Claire but managed to escape Jamie's clutches and narrowly avoided being executed for his crimes.

Wendigo was a part of the "Montauk Five," a group of five men and Native American activists who traveled back from 1968 to the 18th century to persuade Native American tribes to ally with the British in the war to change the course of history. Desperate to return to their present-day, Bree (Sophie Skelton) explained they needed to have a gemstone to travel through time.

colonel bogey march outlander
Claire Fraser heard a man whistling "Colonel Bogey March" in "Outlander" Season 6, Episode 5. Starz

Things were certainly looking even more likely that the mysterious whistling prisoner is Wendigo when the unidentified man was spotted holding a green gemstone inside a prison cell.

Earlier in the episode, Flora MacDonald shared with Jamie and Claire that she had been robbed by two men on the street and they had made off with her gold and emerald necklace. Thankfully, she was able to retrieve the necklace and two of the gemstones when the men were arrested but unfortunately, one gemstone remained missing.

Perhaps Wendigo stole Flora's necklace and gemstone to make an attempt to travel back to the 1960s.

Fans of the Outlander books will know any move towards bridges being built between Wendigo, Claire and Jamie are burned (quite literally) and have disastrous consequences but whether Outlander has remained faithful to Wendigo's storyline from Diana Gabaldon's novel remains unknown for now.

Luckily, fans do not have too much longer to wait to find out the whistling man's true identity and what this could mean going forward at Fraser's Ridge.

Outlander continues Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.