The July Drive (MacEdward Leach)

See also: The Valley Of Kilbride (MacEdward Leach)

Shout loud the praise of Newfoundland,
Our gallant volunteers,
We hail our fellow countrymen
With loud and hearty cheers;
For in that drive they played their part
And proved what they could do,
And lost their lives to save the flag,
The old red, white, and blue.

Those gallant sons from Newfoundland
That day they showed their might,
Their regiment full 800 strong
Were foremost in the fight;
While some lay wounded on the field
Whilst more brave lads lay dead,
Those fearless youths from Newfoundland
They boldly marched ahead.

They marched up to the German lines
Where shot and shell did fly,
Where many's a brave young volunteer
Gave up his life to die;
But yet undaunted they pushed on,
Up nearer to the foe,
To find them well prepared that day
To lay our regiment low.

No soldier flinched not one dropped down
For none they seemed afraid,
They showed the famous courage
Of the famous light brigade;
Their praise is now on every lip
For such a hero stand,
The first brave corporal heads the crowd
Is a boy from Newfoundland.

'Twas sad to see such fine young men
That left their native shore,
In manhood prime, in health and strength
They'll see their friends no more;
For in that drive they lost their lives
Up to the cannon's mouth,
"Push on, push on," those dying words
You'll hear those heroes shout.

Now resting far from home and friends
Those brave young warriors lay,
That lost their lives to save the flag
Upon that fatal day;
We know they'll see that heavenly land,
That bright and happy shore,
Where all is peace and happiness,
And sorrows are no more.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland lament ....####
Collected in 1951 from John J Bulger [1894-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Notes: Between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., on July 1, 1916, the First Newfoundland Regiment, part of the 29th British Division, was virtually annihilated at Beaumont Hamel as they advanced into point-blank enemy fire. Of the 801 who went into battle, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day.

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