Mudcat Café message #4072442 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4072442
Posted By: Sandra in Sydney
19-Sep-20 - 01:32 AM
Thread Name: Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
From Phyl - I wrote it because my father Roy Vinnicombe went to the Somme aged 18 and was injured a couple of years later. He recovered or I would not be writing this e-mail. He went to WW 2 when I was 3 and was invalided home but died when I was 8.

A recording of my lyrics accompanied on Uilleann pipes played by Declan Affley is freely available on my web site website The recording was made somewhere in the 80’s I think. It was performed at a concert in the Sydney Town Hall.

BATTLE OF THE SOMME, Sung by Phyl Lobl with Pipe accompaniment from Declan Affley

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


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.
The rest are mine distilled from the revelations of people Guy Chapman interviewed for his book.