Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Remembrance Sunday

There is something very special about being a councillor on Remembrance Sunday. We are invited to take part in a civic ceremony to remember the glorious fallen, in company with veterans of all conflicts and with members of the public and with school children from every senior school in the city.

Sadly it rained a lot towards the end of the ceremony and our Lord Mayor, Councillor Steve Rotheram and his wife were dripping wet before they were allowed to come back into St George's Hall at the end of the service - but at least they had umbrellas, we had only our skin to keep us dry!

It was as always a moving ceremony although frankly I could have done without being asked to maintain a three minute silence in order to listen to some cheesy pop song named Heroes which was performed by some previous X factor group. Good for them for giving the proceeds to the Royal Legion, but really, it did not merit the intense listening we were obliged to give it, to the extent that I felt uncomfortable about eating my lunch while it was playing. It was hardly the Flowers of the Forest.

Later in the day Colin and I decided to visit Abercrombie Square to see the new statue, a tribute to the city's VC recipients, including, unbelievably, Noel Chavasse who won not 1 but 2 VCs, truly awesome, and was the son of the then Bishop of Liverpool. I am attaching the photos but sadly I do not know how to turn them so that they are the right way up. I took them with my camera phone. Maybe it is something to do with the settings that wont let me save flipped photos? Answers would be welcome, solutions even more so. They are not great pics, it was raining and getting dark by the time we found the sculpture.

One of Colin's Great Uncles, or maybe Great Great Uncles, was a VC winner, David Samuel Anthony Lord and we took some time to think about him during the day, as well as our grandfathers, greatgrandfathers and other family members whose contributions to the wars have been so precious.

I look forward to ceremonies that celebrate those that served from home, including the women but at least I know that many of us hold them in our minds during the service anyway.

Only the weather depressed what was otherwise a really important day of reflection and I was once again very proud to be taking part in the remembrance.


Anonymous said...

Flowers of the Forest (one of the few songs that can truly be described as "great") is actually called "Green Fields of France".

Yours in pedantry!

Louise Baldock said...

Hello anonymous pedant

You have got two things muddled up there

Flowers of the Forest is a Scottish folktune played at funerals and dates back nearly 400 years

It commemorates the battle of Flodden in 1513.


Have a look at that link to learn more

You are thinking of a modern folk song written by Eric Bogle which "asks" Private William McBride if the pipes played "The Flowers of the Forest" at his funeral.

That commemorates the first World War as you know. That would have been a better song to listen to than Heroes, but I am afraid that it has begun to be seen as rather cheesy over the years and has been parodied since by Crawford Howard and others.

And it goes like this


Have you heard the old song about Willie Mc Bride?
If I hear it again, it'll turn me insides!
For its sung in the Springtime and its sung in the Fall
- And mostly by people who can't sing at all!
You go out for a drink on a Saturday night
For a pint and a song, and things are alright
Until some drunken bowsey sits down by your side
And he asks for the one about "Willie Mc Bride"!

Well you say you don't know it but this will not do
For now he's determined to sing it to you
So he spills half your drink and starts off in a key
That was never invented on land or on sea
And as time goes by sure the whole thing gets worse
For you soon realise that he knows every verse!
With his arm round your shoulder - 'cos now he's your friend
He's going to sing the damn thing to the end!

You go out to the Gents for a quarter of an hour
And you watch the TV in the old public bar
And then you come back thinking that he will tire
But he's still going on about gas and barbed wire!
And ten minutes later you're all in a trance
For he's up to his oxters in the Green Fields of France
The crowd are all quiet, you wont hear a peep
Does he not realise they've all gone to sleep?

Ah Willie Mc Bride, why the hell did you die?
The trouble you'd have saved if you'd come back alive
And got a wee job or signed "on the brew"*
We'd not have to listen to songs about you!
But still I don't know but I'm glad that you're dead
With the green fields of France piled on top of your head
For the trouble you caused since the day that you died
- Shooting's too good for you, Willie Mc Bride!