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1st July. Remember.

Well it’s the 1st July. The 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme when thousands of soldiers from the UK of Great Britain & Ireland fought & died on those French fields for freedom & right. Today, we remember their sacrifice.
Thank God for their sacrifice & remember them. We stand on the shoulders of Giants.
Young men in summer evenings out drilling in the fields
but instead of farming implements, they carry death machines
Soon they’ll go to reap and mow in a far-flung foreign field
Some of them will not return to realise their dreams.
Cut down, unripe, before their time, harvested by hand.
Now stones stand tall above the soil in French and Belgian land
A warning to all young men, whose heads are full of dreams
Take care before you act on them
War’s not what it seems
So here we are in Martinsart on the 2nd of July
and when they take the roll call,
we’ll answer “Naw” or “Aye”
But in our dreams we’ll never leave
the trenches in the wood
It was there we learned the meaning
of the term “the brotherhood”
So here we are in Martinsart
One in three is gone
The rest we left in No Man’s Land
at the hell they called the Somme.
Well how do you do Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for awhile beneath the warm summer sun,
I’ve been walking all day and now I’m nearly done
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916;
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean,
Or, young Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drum slowly,
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the Death March
As they lowered you down?
Did the band play
"The Last Post And Chorus?"
Did the pipes play
"The Flowers Of The Forest?"
Did you leave ‘ere a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
And although you died back in 1916,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed forever behind a glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn, and battered and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?


Ah the sun now it shines on these green fields of France,
The warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance,
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds;
There’s no gas, no barbed wire, there’re no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard is still No Man’s Land,
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that was butchered and damned.



Ah, young Willie McBride, I can’t help wonder why,
Did all those who lay here really know why they died?
And did they believe when they answered the call,
Did they really believe that this war would end war?
For the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain,
The killing and dying were all done in vain,
For, young Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again and again and again and again.


About Mcfaggen

Having grown up in Co. Fermanagh where most of my family still reside, I thought it would be worthwhile to keep a blog of my travels around the rest of the UK, Europe and the World.


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