In May of 2000, the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in WWI were repatriated from France and buried in a specially-designed sarcophagus directly in front of the War Memorial in
Ottawa, Canada. Steve Kelly, former Pipe Major and Regimental Sergeant Major of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, composed a pipe tune titled "Lament for the Unknown Soldier" to honour the young soldier. This song is a lyrical adaptation of that tune. Click on the link below to hear the melody.
The Return of the Unknown Soldier
Music by Steve S. Kelly
Lyrics and arrangement by Barry Taylor
(Intro: Flowers of the Forest)
When I was a boy I'd follow the band
Pretending I was a soldier
How could I foresee that a soldier I'd be
When war's shadow spread o'er the land?
We all joined as one, my buddies and me
When the call came for men to go over
We followed the band to a far foreign land
What proud and brave soldiers were we!
What's this sound that I hear, Boys?
Danger drawing near!
What's this place that I fear, Boys,
Where shadowy darkness appears?
They laid me to rest near the battlefield plain
A piper played 'Flowers of the Forest'
'Neath this soft grassy floor I shall sleep evermore
To love and laugh never again.
(Instrumental: Flowers of the Forest)
For eighty long years in this flow'r covered bed
'Known unto God' said my gravestone
Few visitors came, and they knew not my name
'Shed tears for my comrades instead.
What's that sound that I hear, Boys?
Footsteps drawing near
I'm being carried away, Boys,
The end of my journey unclear.
I hear tower bells ring and a children's choir sing
The soldiers march past and salute me
And I see the great crowd and the Maple Leaf proud
Hey, Boys, I think I've come home!
Hey, Boys, it's great to be home!