“Lift aloft our banner” was another song (along with “Voice of the Helpless”) from the Bands of Mercy movement. This movement, established in 1875 by Catherine Smithies, helped children to comprehend and appreciate the century’s growing focus on animal welfare. Bands of Mercy used songs, hymns, skits, and recitations to teach children about compassionate living. Some of these hymns evoked a militancy, not of fighting but of collective unity to bring justice and kindness to the earth: “we’ll join all nations, with peace, mercy, right, and love” (v. 2) to “protect the weak and helpless” (v. 2) and “Scatter freely seeds of kindness” (v. 3). The words are by Rev. Thomas Timmins but he sets it, appropriately to the well-known, folk tune from America, used most famously with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (1862).
More discussion on this song can be found in Chapter 5, British Hymn Books for Children.