Honoring Memorial Day: Green Fields of France

The best-known version of (No Man’s Land) The Green Fields of France was recorded by The Furey Brothers and Davey Arthur in 1979.

The song tells the story of a young man lost in World War I.  Singer-songwriter Eric Bogle said the story is fictional but based on truth.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists five William McBrides who died in France in the war. Three of them have no grave and are listed on memorials to the missing. The Willie McBride who most fits the description is Private William McBride from Lislea, Armagh, who was killed on April 22nd, 1916, right at the time of the Easter Rising. His grave is in Authuile Military Cemetery in northern France.

Though the song is about Australian involvement in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, it alludes to Suvla Bay where the 10th (Irish) Division were slaughtered in August 1915. Bogle told the Irish Times, he “wanted to appeal to as many emotional triggers as I could. It doesn’t matter which war you are writing about. The end result is much the same. It is about a lot of dead young boys.”

Today, we honor those who are lost and are thankful for those who served and who have come home.