Tag Archives: Great Big Sea

Memorial Day

I didn’t have time to prepare a Memorial Day post for this year, but everything I wrote last year still stands. We haven’t forgotten.

disregard the prologue

(Not to depress anyone on this lovely and otherwise-celebratory-in-Canada day, but history is important, guys…)

Happy Canada Day! Well, mostly… see, when you live in Newfoundland, July 1 is a bittersweet holiday (and not just because so many people still swear that joining Canada was a mistake– not today’s topic, don’t worry). No, it’s because in Newfoundland, July 1 is also Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember the lives lost at the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, France, on July 1, 1916.

It’s not an insignificant number. The Newfoundland Regiment (then hailing from a tiny dominion of the British empire, not from Canada) was destroyed: more than 650 casualties, most within 15-20 minutes of leaving the trenches. Anywhere you read about the Newfoundland Regiment and this battle, the terms “nearly annihilated,” “almost wiped out” or “decimated” are sure to appear.

War is awesome, isn’t it?

But Great Big Sea tells…

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Memorial Day

(Not to depress anyone on this lovely and otherwise-celebratory-in-Canada day, but history is important, guys…)

Happy Canada Day! Well, mostly… see, when you live in Newfoundland, July 1 is a bittersweet holiday (and not just because so many people still swear that joining Canada was a mistake– not today’s topic, don’t worry). No, it’s because in Newfoundland, July 1 is also Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember the lives lost at the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, France, on July 1, 1916.

It’s not an insignificant number. The Newfoundland Regiment (then hailing from a tiny dominion of the British empire, not from Canada) was destroyed: more than 650 casualties, most within 15-20 minutes of leaving the trenches. Anywhere you read about the Newfoundland Regiment and this battle, the terms “nearly annihilated,” “almost wiped out” or “decimated” are sure to appear.

War is awesome, isn’t it?

But Great Big Sea tells the story far better than I can. The “Blue Puttees” was the nickname of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

(traditional, lyrics courtesy of the b’ys themselves)

RECRUITING SARGEANT*

Two recruiting sergeants came to the CLB,
for the sons of the merchants, to join the Blue Puttees
So all the hands enlisted, five hundred young men
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

They crossed the broad Atlantic in the brave Florizel
And on the sands of Suvla, they entered into hell
And on those bloody beaches, the first of them fell
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

So it’s over the mountains, and over the sea
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
You’ll fight in Flanders, and at Galipoli
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Then the call came from London, for the last July drive
To the trenches with the regiment, prepare yourselves to die
The roll call next morning, just a handful survived.
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

And it’s over the mountains, and over the sea
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
You’ll fight in Flanders, and at Galipoli
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

The stone men on Water Street still cry for the day
When the pride of the city went marching away
A thousand men slaughtered, to hear the King say
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

And it’s over the mountains, and over the sea
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
You’ll fight in Flanders, and at Galipoli
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

So it’s over the mountains, and over the sea
Come brave Newfoundlanders and join the Blue Puttees
You’ll fight in Flanders, and at Galipoli
Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Enlist you Newfoundlanders and come follow me

Catchy tune, no?

So today we (whether Newfoundlanders, CFAs like me, or mainlanders in the know) remember these brave men and grieve the loss of life.

…and then we get to go and throw some burgers on the BBQ and watch fireworks for Canada Day. *waves flag*

Fantastic (if old) blog post from Rick Mercer, who is actually from here… here.

More information on the  Royal Newfoundland Regiment here and here, and some good information on Memorial Day and its origins here. This article on the memorial in France has good information on the battle, etc.

*I don’t know they it’s spelled that way on track listings. Thoughts? Guesses? Answers?


Friday Fun: Mermaid Edition

Tomorrow marks the beginning of JuNoWriMo. I don’t know if I’ll make 50,000 words, but I’ll try. If I do, I’ll have about half of Torn re-written, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. It’s a story of adventure, questions about whether love can last when it happened too quickly (seriously, why is this not addressed more in YA literature?!), kidnappings, poison, revenge… and the return of two of my favourite secondary characters from Bound, who just happen to be mer-folk. Yay! Missed those guys.

In honour of their return, I’m going to leave you guys with this song by Great Big Sea (and if you’re not familiar with them, you’re missing out). This song is perfectly Newfoundland: the accents, the music, the theme, and the fact that the whole thing is basically a set-up for the kind of off-colour joke your grandpa might tell after a few too many drinks at Thanksgiving. The mermaids in this song aren’t quite the same as mine (mine have grey skin, not blue, and legs aren’t an issue), but I think they’d love this song anyway.

I’m posting the live version because these guys are fantastic in concert, and the banter is adorable. Also, the mermaid dance. I LOVE THESE GUYS. Below it you’ll find the studio version, which sounds better but is notably lacking in both dances and banter. Take your pick and make your click. 🙂

And with that, I leave you. I’ll be around, but please yell at me if I’m posting here more than 3x a week and not making my JuNoWriMo daily goals. I do procrastinate like that, you know.


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