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Thursday
May292014

WW1 love song "Last December" airs in Bristol

Watch the video here

In June 2013 I was asked to write a song based on two letters sent to a woman in Bristol during WW1. BBC Bristol were in possession of these notes, and the content was to be immortalised in the form of a love song to commemorate 100 years since the beginning of World War One.

The subject of the letters? Love letters? Poetry? No, notes from a padre at a military hospital in France informing the desperate wife of Private James Brain that he had received a schrapnel wound to the leg and would not make it through the night. The second letter informed Lizzie Brain that her husband had passed away peacefully and he had been buried with military honours. Yes, perfect fodder for a Daisy Chapman miserable classic, but these were REAL people, and their family had selected ME as the scribe for their lament. So I was pretty touched (and terrified) to have been singled out for this massive task.

Last November Sue and I were in France on tour and took a detour to Abbeville Cemetery and found Private Brain's grave. It was amazing to pay tribute to someone who's featured in a song and became so close to my heart. What a sobering day.

And now it's June 2014 and the BBC is pushing the song and the story across its local media and I'm feeling very lucky to have been hand picked to be inolved in something so special.

Around Armistace day 2014 the song will be available as a download with all proceeds going to the Legion.

You can watch the video that accompanies the song by clicking here. Please send me your thoughts on the song, or stories you'd like to share about family in WW1 - the war to end all wars.

And lastly, here are the lyrics to Last December.

You told me France was cold, you always loved the winter
You told me not to worry, that was last December
You told me you'd be home before the fruit trees blossom
The buds have come and gone and spring is long forgotten.
Bravery shall see its rewards
In the war to end all wars... not mine.
They tell me zeppelins can be seen as near as London
Oh turn around and send a message to our loved ones
My gentle loving man with passion for the living
How can he serve in trenches, what does he know of killing
From Bishopsworth to Amiens, 300 miles
You can't be further from my heart when armed with rifle
He told me shrapnel was the cause of your downfall
He told me that your safe return was looking doubtful
Oh please, the breeze, go east send prayers through my window
My god, my love don't leave me here the desperate widow
Shell shock
He told me it was 10 past 3 when you left your love your bride
Your coffin wrapped in the union jack, I'll see you on the other side
You told me not to worry, that was last December

 

 

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