Phyl Lobl

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My father was a very young man when he was injured on the Somme. He joined up again for WW2 but was invalided home.
I wrote this with help from a book about the Somme titled ‘Vain Glory’, by
Guy
Chapman.

The tune is an adaptation of the Scottish Pipe Tune 'Battle of the Somme’. The track used here was from a long past Folk Festival performance.
Declan Affley is playing the Uilleann Pipes.

 

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BATTLE OF THE SOMME

Tune (Traditional adapted),
Music & Sung by Phyl Lobl

 

Words: Phyl Lobl
Tune:   Pipe Major William Laurie adapted by Phyl Lobl.

Thanks to Gregor Ferguson for supplying knowledge of the origin of the tune.


The lark in the evening she drops to the ground now
Bidding farewell to the long summer day.
High on a ridge hear a gun hit the silence,
Flames like a flower brighten the sky.
Dugouts are quiet we wait for the morning
Feeling a thrill as the battle draws near.
As dawn with her pale flush, silvers the grey sky
Sharp tongues of shell fire call up the day.

Glory, vain glory, you beckoned us onward,
Kitchener’s call and your light led the way.
Then just when we seem to be near
You turn into darkness
Splashed with the mud and the pain of the day.


The lines they are formed and the orders are given
While General Haig sends his prayers to the sky.
As we move onward our bayonets before us
We know that those prayers were no better than lies.
Rising and twisting the smoke curls above us
I see by the green glow there's gas in its domes.
We stumble and fall through the craters and shell holes,
Watching the bombs turning trenches to tombs.

We're over the rise now, the line is before us,
Enemy gun fire taking its toll
What hope have the bayonets and the rifles we carry
Against a machine gun here on the Somme.
Day's nearly done now the battlefield empties,
The living are hidden the dead lying still.
The wounded are calling for someone to save them
But no one can help them, no body will.

*‘What's to be said of the life-time of man now,
Shifting from sorrow to sorrow again.
You button up one cause for man kind's vexation
Only to find there's another undone.'*
Each generation has freedom to fight for,
Choose between gun fire or words for your tools.
Freedom's a phantom but reason could find her.
Honour and glory a haven for fools.

• Words between the stars are a direct quote from the book.

 

 

 

 
 
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