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Please Apologise for cutting the words of the Poppy Appeal song - the original song condemns the folly of war.

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This year’s poppy appeal song is “No Man’s Land”, a great anti-war song, written by Eric Bogle.  The version on the Royal British Legion’s YouTube channel -   - cuts out the end of the song, and removes its anti-war message.

 To see a great anti-war song sanitised like this, from a condemnation of the folly and obscenity of war, is an insult to the writer of the song, to the many singers who have sung it previously, and ultimately to the armed forces, who know better than anyone else the horrors of war.

 The Royal British Legion should apologise. They should also print the full words on their website, with equal prominence to the links to the song.  The full song is here   and the words are below:

1. Well, how'd you do, Private William Mcbride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
I'll rest here awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, Lord, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916--
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean,
Or, Willie Mcbride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drum slowly,
Did they sound the fife lowly,
Did the rifles fire o'er you as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sing "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play "The Flowers of the Forest?"

2. And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you always 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

3. The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

4. And I can't help but wonder, now Willie Mcbride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you 'The Cause? '
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie Mcbride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.


Copyright Eric Bogle

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