No Man's Land (The Green Fields of France)

... and in this case, the green fields of Ulster's County Armagh, which is where I was yesterday.

I was deep in the heart of the Armagh countryside because I had arranged to meet a gentleman who's uncle may - or may not - have been the 'young Willie McBride' of Eric Bogle's very moving song.  I wanted a clearer copy of his photograph to use on the screen during the performance.

I got to thinking about this lad and his friends.  Just teenagers when they left home and hearth, and went to fight - and die - for king and country in the misery of the trenches.

Many of the Ulstermen died in the Battle of the Somme - over 60,000 British Casualties on July 1, 1916 - the first day of the battle.

I can't comprehend that number.  It's at least 10 thousand more than a full stadium at an international rugby match in Dublin for sure.

By November, the British, German and French casualties numbered over a million.  Horrific.  And that was just one battle.

If you don't know the song - there's a nice version by Liam Clancy here.  There's also a good one here in English and German - but I prefer Clancy's version.


  1. That is a beautiful moving song Etta, thanks for the link. I have a whole shelf of Great War literature in my house but haven't looked at it for a while. It is impossible to imagine the horrors with today's view isn't it? x

    1. We've read "Birdsong" and "Testament of Youth" in bookclub - not one after the other though - I don't think I could bear that. Any on your shelf that you'd recommend?

  2. It's almost beyond comprehension how many young men left their homes and never came back again, and it's really important that we remember so that it can never happen again on such a scale. Lovely to find your blog - thanks for visiting mine! xx

  3. You're right re remembrance - though as the years pass it will be harder.