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Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'

Ythanside 18 May 07 - 09:37 PM
Peace 18 May 07 - 09:47 PM
Ythanside 19 May 07 - 05:12 AM
Charley Noble 19 May 07 - 12:25 PM
Ythanside 19 May 07 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Will Drover 19 May 07 - 01:40 PM
Ythanside 19 May 07 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Lighter 19 May 07 - 05:17 PM
Ythanside 19 May 07 - 07:55 PM
Lighter 19 May 07 - 08:53 PM
Ythanside 19 May 07 - 11:20 PM
Peace 19 May 07 - 11:21 PM
Ythanside 20 May 07 - 12:36 AM
Charley Noble 20 May 07 - 11:40 AM
Ythanside 20 May 07 - 03:41 PM
Peace 20 May 07 - 03:47 PM
Charley Noble 20 May 07 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Mingulay at work 21 May 07 - 04:02 AM
Charley Noble 21 May 07 - 09:30 AM
The Fooles Troupe 21 May 07 - 09:41 AM
Ythanside 21 May 07 - 05:40 PM
Charley Noble 21 May 07 - 05:57 PM
Peace 21 May 07 - 06:02 PM
Ythanside 21 May 07 - 10:39 PM
Grab 22 May 07 - 08:23 AM
Charley Noble 22 May 07 - 08:40 AM
GUEST 27 Feb 11 - 08:44 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 12 - 09:56 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Mar 12 - 04:41 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 17 - 02:03 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 17 - 02:23 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 17 - 02:40 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 17 - 02:57 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 17 - 03:13 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Feb 17 - 03:24 PM
Lighter 06 Feb 17 - 08:14 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Feb 17 - 09:47 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Feb 17 - 05:30 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Feb 17 - 05:34 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 18 May 07 - 09:37 PM

Heard this once, and can remember only snippets, but would love to hear the complete thing. Being a WWII army song it will possibly/probably have several versions. The tune is 'Red River Valley'.

'Oh come bury me out in Benghazi,
Way out under the Libyan sun,
It was there that the poor British Tommy,
Died for an old Eyetie gun.'

Another verse begins, 'He raised himself up on one elbow'.
Have asked around at festivals for twenty-odd years without success, so here's hoping.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Peace
Date: 18 May 07 - 09:47 PM

I just sent you the lyrics from this site. It's a poem by George Smith. All I could find just now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 19 May 07 - 05:12 AM

Cheers, Peace, for providing the first link.
My suspicion that the song I heard was one strand of a 'variations on a theme' selection is confirmed by the George Smith poem having some lines in common while telling a different story. I wonder if there is, or ever was, an 'original' or 'definitive' version which spawned imitators. Some Mudcatter must have the lowdown stashed away in his/her head, notebook or pc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 May 07 - 12:25 PM

Ythanside-

According to WHAT A LOVELY WAR, edited by Roy Palmer, p. 183, your verse is one of a set of variants to "The Dying Soldier." As Palmer says:

The subject is merely "a young British soldier," and Kohima, Japanese and Burma and replaced respectively by Benghazi, Eyetie and Africa. "Out in the jungle" becomes "deep in the desert."

Here's one example of the song:

'Twas out at that place called Kohima
Where most of the fighting was done;
'Twas there that a lad from the Borders
Fell to a Japanese gun.


Now as he lay there in the jungle
And the blood from his wounds did flow red,
He gathered his comrades around him,
And these were the words that he said:

"Oh bury me out in the jungle
Under the old Burma sun ;
Bury me out in the jungle,
My duty to England is done."

And so on...

I'll be happy to post additional verses if you're still interested.

Cheerily,
Charley noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 19 May 07 - 12:56 PM

That sounds more in keeping with my admittedly hazy recollection, Charley, and any additional verses would be much appreciated.
Cheers.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DYING SOLDIER
From: GUEST,Will Drover
Date: 19 May 07 - 01:40 PM

Ewan McColl recorded a version of the song in 1956, which appears on the Topic LP Bundook Ballads.

According to the liner notes [ written by McColl ]
"The melody of the Red River Valley has been popular with British troops for the last twenty years and many songs have been written to it. Most of them are very sentimental and, like The Dying Soldier, follow the general pattern of The Unfortunate Rake. This version is from the singing of Mike Prendergast of Doncaster. "

THE DYING SOLDIER

Now you've heard of the tale of Benghaza
Where most of the fighting was done
Where many a young British soldier
Was killed by the old Eytie guns       [ note : Eytie : British slang for Italian ]

Now he laid himself up on one elbow
And the blood from his wound it ran red
And turning to comrades around him
These were the last words he said

" Oh bury me deep in the desert
Under the African sun
Oh bury me deep in the desert
My duty for England is done "

So they buried him deep in the desert
With Allah to watch o'er his grave
They buried him deep in the desert
His young life for England he gave

Now when you get back to old Blighty    [ Blighty = England / Britain ]
And the war it is over and won
Remember that young British soldier
Buried under the African sun.

Sung as a haunting lament, with beautiful harmonica acompaniment by John Cole


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 19 May 07 - 02:13 PM

This standard of feedback is absolutely superb. Can't thank you Mudcatters enough for your assistance.
Cheers again.
Ythanside


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 May 07 - 05:17 PM

My impression is that George Smith's text, linked above by Peace, simply combines two different songs, both sung to "Red River Valley," perhaps.

The text comes at second hand from Smith's daughter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 19 May 07 - 07:55 PM

I have to agree that Smith's version could very well be a melding of two or more different songs, as you say, Lighter, but given the times and circumstances surrounding their origination it's great that we have the results to analyse, unpick or just enjoy.
Army songs vary from one regiment, barracks and platoon to the next, and sometimes even from soldier to soldier, and because they were rarely written down it was/is considered fair game to amend or adapt them to suit the personal perspective of the singer.
Numerous conscripts and regular soldiers from my own extended family sang military songs, 'MacCafferty' for example, and no two versions matched.
You observation that Smith's text comes second-hand carries the unspoken but valid caveat that much can be missed or altered between the ear and the pen, however unintentionally. Most folkies, yourself included I gather, seem to have an ability to detect additions and verbal weld-ons that don't sit well within the framework of the text.
Cheers, and thanks for the posting.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Lighter
Date: 19 May 07 - 08:53 PM

Ythanside, quite right. My thinking is that two songs may have been run together in a notebook or something similar. I'd be surprised if the Smith-Leake text were widely sung as is, simply because it tells two independent stories.

I'm sure others besides me would appreciate seeing your version(s) of "McCafferty," etc. That song also appeared on MacColl's "Bundook Ballads," as I recall. (Its tune is the same as the best-known version of the Irish "Croppy Boy.")


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 19 May 07 - 11:20 PM

Hi again, Lighter. The poem listed by George Smith's daughter does look like two completely separate items in tandem. But hey, the horses teeth rule applies, and I'm just chuft to bits to get any illumination whatsoever.
'MacCafferty' to the tune The Croppy Boy is so familiar that I've never had cause to write it down, although I suspect that every possible version must have been logged at Mudcat over the years. Will have a looksee and post if I have anything new.
Cheers,
Ythanside


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Peace
Date: 19 May 07 - 11:21 PM

What would you like searched for, Ythanside?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 20 May 07 - 12:36 AM

Peace, man. Oops, sorry, wrong thread.
Hi,
I'm looking for any version of a song I now know to be entitled 'The Dying Soldier'. Having searched for almost thirty years with zero success(perhaps because the fragments I had did not include the title)I have, in the last few hours, discovered via this thread not only the title but three or four complete songs. All of these tell similar stories, and one in particular is very close to the one I'd heard a long time ago and which prompted me into trying to get hold of the lyrics. It would be great to collect a selection of versions.
Posting this thread was a last-chance-saloon effort, and I have been absolutely bowled over by the responses. What a helpfull bunch you Mudcatters are.
Cheers, and again, thank you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 May 07 - 11:40 AM

Ythanside-

Here's the rest of the verses for the Burma version of "The Dying Soldier":

So they buried him out in the jungle
By the light of the far setting sun
They buried him out in the jungle
His job for his country was done.

Now when you get back to old England
And the war it is over and won
Remember that poor British Tommy
Under the old Burma sun.

Now if she had only been faithful
He might have been raising a son
But instead he's just pushing up teak trees
Under the old Burma sun.

Mudcat can be an excellent resource for tracking down old songs as this thread demonstrates. I was also able to resolve a 70-year mystery here with regard to who composed "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord," although I was only searching for 40 years! The Mudcat search took years but the resulting posts and eventual resolution make a classic search for origins thread.

Another intriguing soldier song from the North Africa campaign in World War 2 has to be "Fucking Tobruk," amazing in the number of ways that the "F-word" is used! Here's one verse as a teaser:

All fucking fleas, no fucking beer,
No fucking booze since we've been here;
And will it come? No fucking fear,
In fucking Tobruk!

If there is interest I'll post the entire song on another thread.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 20 May 07 - 03:41 PM

Interest, Charley Noble, are you serious? It sounds prime for late night and private gigs, and I can't be the only one looking forward to seeing/hearing it.

Thanks for completing that version of The Dying Soldier, it really is greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
Ythanside


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Peace
Date: 20 May 07 - 03:47 PM

YES, PLEASE, post it Charlie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 May 07 - 07:03 PM

We'll post the rest of the Tobruk lyrics, without fail, but first I have to make the f***ing dinner!

WHAT A LOVELY WAR, edited by Roy Palmer, is well worth buying if you're at all inclined to these kinds of songs. Palmer includes great notes for each song but no musical notation; however, most of these dities are obvious parodies of still familiar songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: GUEST,Mingulay at work
Date: 21 May 07 - 04:02 AM

"Fucking Tobruk" would seem a variant of "Fucking Halkirk" which appeared in 'Songs and Ballads of World War II'. I'll have to see if I still have my copy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Fucking Tobruk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 May 07 - 09:30 AM

Mingulay-

You are correct, and as one might expect there were many other variants including the one you mentioned and "Bloody Orkney". Here are the lyrics as presented by Palmer:

Fucking Tobruk

(From WHAT A LOVELY WAR, edited by Roy Palmer, p. 171; tune Early in the Morning or Baa, Baa, Black Sheep)

All fucking fleas, no fucking beer,
No fucking booze since we've been here;
And will it come? No fucking fear,
In fucking Tobruk!

The fucking rumours make me smile;
The fucking wogs are fucking vile;
The fucking pommies cramp your style,
In fucking Tobruk!

All fucking dust, no fucking rain,
All fucking fighting since we came;
The army's just a fucking shame
In fucking Tobruk!

The bully makes me fucking wild,
I'd nearly eat a fucking child;
The salt water makes me fucking riled
In fucking Tobruk!

Air raids all day and fucking night,
Huns striving with all fucking might;
RThey gave us all a fucking fright
In fucking Tobruk!

Best fucking place is fucking bed
With blanket over fucking head,
And then they think you're fucking dead
In fucking Tobruk!

"Tobruk" was a town in Libya which changed hands several times during World War 2; this ditty was composed by Australians while they were besieged for a couple of months in 1941.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 May 07 - 09:41 AM

This was where the "Rats of Tobruk" got their name - their Organisation in Melbourne recently had to sell their building due to lack of funds to maintain it - a generous businessman bought it and donated it back to them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 21 May 07 - 05:40 PM

What can I say, Charley, but 'fucking brilliant!'

Have just ordered Roy Palmer's 'What a Lovely War' through Amazon, and noticed that the foreword is by Lyn Macdonald, a much respected war historian whose works I'm already familiar with.
So that's it. Done and dusted. Got what I came for (and a helluva lot besides) so I'm off, clearly none the wiser but much better informed thanks to you guys.
Ho hum.., bit bored now..., think I'll wander down to the pub..., have a jar or three..., might even try out 'Fucking Tobruk' on the locals.   Fuck it, why not?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 May 07 - 05:57 PM

Ythanside-

Don't stray too far. This place can be fun!

You owe me jar. LOL

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Peace
Date: 21 May 07 - 06:02 PM

Pleasure to meet you, Ythanside.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Ythanside
Date: 21 May 07 - 10:39 PM

You're spot on, Charley, on both counts.
Hi there, Peace, and the feeling's mutual.
As a veteran of, oh, it must be weeks and weeks now, I have to say that this Mudcat place is the most entertaining discovery I've stumbled upon in years. The last time I had this much fun is something I can't even hint at while the wife's within squinting distance of the monitor. And I owe both you guys a jar or several apiece. Just mail me the respective locations of the watering holes and I'll show up.
Have fun
Cheers,
Ythanside


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Grab
Date: 22 May 07 - 08:23 AM

Re "Fucking Tobruk", also check out Bloody Orkney for a National Service version. So was "Bloody Orkney" written by someone who'd heard "Fucking Tobruk", or are both examples of a more general barracks-song framework?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 May 07 - 08:40 AM

Graham-

According to Roy Palmer (I wasn't there!) "In Bloody Orkney" was composed first after those islands were garrisoned early in World War 2:

"The Ayrshire Yeomanry, having been stationed in Orkney, took the song on moving to Caithness in 1941 and used it as the basis for "Oh, Fucking Halkrik."

Some soldiers are just never satisfied where they are stationed, it would seem!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 08:44 AM

Sorry to come to this a little late, my late Father used to sing another variant of this. I believe he was taught it by his Father who was out in the area during WWII.

Now maybe you've heard of Benghazi,
And all of the deeds that were done,
'twas there that a poor English tommy,
Was shot by an old eyetie gun.

They buried him out in the desert,
Under the Libyan sun,
They buried that poor English tommy,
His fight for old England was done.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 12 - 09:56 AM

A version of this song was used in the production of 'Hands up for you the war is ended' which was performed at the Victoria Theatre in Stoke on Trent back in (I think) 1970. This was a brilliant musical documentary; the memory of it has stayed with me to this day. The actual words used were, if I remember rightly, printed in the programme, a copy of which is held by the Imperial War Museum. You might be able to find other copies of the programme by searching Google.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Mar 12 - 04:41 PM

There is another thread currently on this very song. Could a MudElf please marry the 2 threads?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 17 - 02:03 PM

Okay the thread that gives the early history of this song's precursers is 'Bury me not on the lone Prairie'. Most of the songs (dating from 1834) on that thread have little in common with our song here other than the phrase 'bury me not/out' but very likely inspired our song. What the other thread does tell us is that seemingly the song that is the direct ancestor of all the versions here was written and composed by Gene Autry in 1927. A title sometimes used is 'I've got no use for the women' which comes from the first line, but the title most commonly used is 'Bury me out on the Prairie'. I have it unattributed and undated in 'Francis & Day's Hill-billy Album No. 1' at page 42.

The tune appears not to be related to any of the other 'Bury me Not/out' songs which predate it and for the purposes of this thread is definitely not related to 'Red River Valley'. All of the versions I have (British and Irish) of the parody above (barring one) where a tune is designated are set to 'Red River Valley'. However, I think I have a missing link in the evolution which might shed considerable light on it.......


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 17 - 02:23 PM

As the 2 versions on the other thread are slightly different to the one in the Hillbilly Album and I think this version is most likely to have influenced our British songs I include it here:

BURY ME OUT ON THE PRAIRIE, key C, waltz time.
We can deal with the tune later.

Now I've got no use for the women,
A true one may seldom be found,
They use a man for his money,
When it's gone they'll turn him down.
They're all alike at the bottom,
Selfish and grasping for all,
They'll stay by a man while he's winning,
And laugh in his face at his fall.

My pal was an honest young puncher,
Honest and upright and true,
But he turned to a hard-shooting gunman,
On account of a girl named Lou.
He fell in with evil companions,
the kind that are better off dead,
When a gambler insulted her picture,
He filled him full of lead.

All through the long night they trailed him,
Through mesquite and thick chaparral,
And I couldn't help think of the woman,
As I saw him pitch and fall.
If she'd been a pal that she should have,
He might have been raising a son,
Instead of out there on the prairie,
To die by the ranger's gun.

Death's sharp sting did not trouble,
his chances for life were too slim,
But where they were putting his body,
Was all that worried him.
He lifted his head on his elbow,
The blood from his wounds flowed red,
He gazed at his pals grouped about him,
And he whispered to them and said.

"Oh, bury me out on the prairie
Where the coyotes may howl o'er my grave,
Oh, bury me out on the prairie
But from them my bones please save.
Wrap me up in my blankets,
And bury me deep in the ground,
Cover me over with boulders,
Of granite, gray and round."

So we buried him out on the prairie,
Where the coyotes can howl o'er his grave,
And his soul is now a-resting,
From the unkind cut she gave.
And many another young puncher,
As he rides past that pile of stone,
Recalls some similar woman,
And thinks of his mouldering bones.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 17 - 02:40 PM

Now here is the longest British version I have from the singing of Norman Cressey of Goole, Yorkshire, recorded in 1992 at his home. Norman served in Burma in WWII and another of his songs is set in Burma. Like my father he was probably transferred to North Africa after leaving Burma. His version was the North African one with some significant differences.

He wasn't a lad for the women,
In true love could never be found,
he wasn't a lad for the women,
They laughed at him when he was down.

Now had she been the girl that she promised
He might have been raising a son,
Instead he's pushing up daisies
Under the Libyan sun.

Now you've heard of a place called Gazella,
Where most of the fighting was done,
Twas there that this poor British Tommy
Was hit by an old Eytie gun.

He raised himself up on his elbows,
The blood from his wounds dripping red,
He turned to his comrades around him
And these were the last words he said.

"Oh, bury me out in the desert,
Under the Libyan sun,
Oh, bury me out in the desert,
My duty for England is done."

So they buried him out in the desert
Coyotes to watch o'er his grave,
They buried him out in the desert
His young life for England he gave.

Now when you get back to old Blighty
The war will be over and won,
But think of that poor British Tommy
Out under the Libyan sun.

The recording of both songs is available on the British Library Sound Archive website if you put Norman Cressey's name in the search box.

Parts or equivalents of 6 of these 7 stanzas can be found in the original. Stanza 3 which is usually the first stanza in shorter versions (See above) is down to the British author presumably.

Unlike all other versions of the British song I have his tune is pretty much the same as the original Autry tune whereas all others go to 'Red River Valley'. The 'Red River Valley' was much more widely known over here in the 30s and 40s having been in the charts and plenty of sheet music available.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 17 - 02:57 PM

The mention of daisies and coyotes in the Sahara is all part of folk tradition. We don't look too closely at the content. He is 'British' but he gave his life for 'England'. Such inconsistencies we can overlook.

Country music was widely popular in Britain from the 20s onwards and we find lots of examples entering our folklore. For instance the anthem of my local rugby team has been since the 20s 'Ole Faithful' and practically everyone in west Hull can sing it.

The Burma/Kohima version mentioned above has 6 of the 7 stanzas.

In the 'Voice of the People' series volume 8 is an Irish version which on the face of it seems to be set in the struggle for independence of 1916, but of course if the above is true it must have been written in retrospect.

Down in the Town of old Bantry, sung by Tommy McGrath, recorded at Ross, Waterford, in 1965, by Reg Hall & Jimmy Power.

Oh 'twas down in the town of old Bantry
Where most of the fighting was done
'Twas there that a gallant Irish soldier
Was shot by a Black-and-Tan gun.

As he raised himself up on his elbow
As the blood from his wound did run low,
Then he turned to his comrades beside him,
And these are the words that he said:

"Won't you bury me out on the mountain,
Where I can see where the battle was won?
Won't you bury me out on the mountain
With my face turned to God's rising sun?"

So they buried him out on the mountain,
On his cross that lay facing the sun
They wrote "Here lies a true soldier
That was shot by a Black-and-Tan gun."

And now we are back in old Dublin
With our victories over and won.
Won't you pray for the comrades you've buried
Under God's rising sun?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 17 - 03:13 PM

And there's more! A piece of recent facebook lore.

A local Hull group Bullnose Heritage who raise awareness of the plight of Hull's lost Fishing Industry and the many lives that were lost by Hull trawlermen, recently posted some photos of verses of a version of our song on their Facebook site. Apparently the verses are scrawled on walls in a large block known as Lord Line that used to serve as a centre for a fishing company but is now derelict, next to the lock at the fishdock.

Bury me down at Cape Canning

Have you heard of the story of Iceland
Where most of the fishing was done?
'Twas there that a poor little deckie
Was shot by an old Jerry gun.

As he lay with his head on his elbow
His blood made the trawler decks red,
And he raised up his eyes to the skipper
And these are the words that he said:

"Bury me down at Cape Canning
Under the midnight sun,
Bury me down at Cape Canning
Duty to Kingstons is done."

"So, me lads, when you're back home in Rayner's
Drinking your whiskey and rum,
Think of that poor little deckie
Who was shot by an old Jerry gun.

Kingston is a local trawler firm as in 'Kingston Peridot' one of the trawlers that went down in the triple trawler disaster.
Rayners is one of the main pubs the trawlermen frequented.
Cape Canning we have so far been unable to identify but presumably it's the Hull name of a cape on Iceland.

Presumably it is based on an incident during WWII as our trawlers were often attacked, but most were sunk by mines. It could be based on a true event or could just be generic like the other versions.

Some of our singers and researchers are currently trying to find more info.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Feb 17 - 03:24 PM

I ought to add that the Irish tune is none of the above but has some similarities to RRV. The nearest I can get at the moment is 'Be nobody's darling but mine' but it's definitely a Country Music tune.
Of course Country Music has long been very popular in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Feb 17 - 08:14 AM

Hi, Steve.

The following anonymous "Benghazi Ballad" appeared in the anthology "From Oasis into Italy," ed. Victor Selwyn et al. (1983), p. 72:

I will tell you a tale of Benghazi
   Where most of our fighting was done
It was there that a brave British soldier
   Was killed by an I-talian Gun.

As he fell to the floor mortally wounded
   The blood from his wounds did flow red
He raised himself up on his elbow
   And to his comrades around him, he said

'You can bury me out in the desert
   Under the Libyan sun
You can bury me out in the bluey
   For my duty to England is done.'

'My only true love was my mother
   No sweetheart have I ever known
There is no one at home left to mourn me
   I will die as I lived all alone.'


The "bluey" was an established slang term for the desert. A note informs us, "One of many versions, from all ranks, who produced daily variations, sung to a maudlin tune."

"From Oasis into Italy" anthologizes prose and poetry from the British Eighth Army, 1943-46. (An earlier volume, "Return to Oasis" [1980], covers 1940-42.)

Lomax 1938 gives "Bury Me Out on the Prairie" as a gen-u-wine cowboy song. Fascinating to learn that it was composed by Gene Autry!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Feb 17 - 09:47 AM

I always have heard 'Blue' as the desert rather than 'Bluey' perhaps in reference to the relentless blue sky.

Last verse isn't in any other versions but it looks familiar.

Are you sure Lomax's 1938 version isn't one of the other' Bury Me out on the prairie' songs? or could he be confusing the 2 songs?

Will keep a look-out for these 2 books. Thanks, Jon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Feb 17 - 05:30 PM

And to show the song is still alive and kicking I just found the following in a recently published book of Football songs. From the Liverpool repertoire!
Tune,as you would expect 'Red River Valley'

Let me tell you the story of a poor boy
Who was sent far away from his home
To fight for his king and his country
And all the old folks back home.

They put him in a second division
Sent him off to a far foreign field
Where the flies swarm around in their thousands
And there's nothing to see but the sand.

Now the battle it started next morning
Under the Arabian sun
I remember the poor Scouser Tommy
Who was shot by an old Nazi gun.

He lay on the battlefield dying
With the blood rushing out of his head
As he lay on the battlefield dying, dying, dying
These were the last words he said.

"Oh, I'm a Liverpudlian
And I come from the Spion Kop
I like to sing, I like to shout
And get thrown out quite a lot.

We support a team that's dressed in red
It's team that you all know
It's a team we call Li-ver-pool
And to glory we will go!"

2-nil, 2-nil, 2-nil, 2-nil (Amazing Grace) Sorry, couldn't resist that last bit! Not part of the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: WWII Song:'Come bury me out in Benghazi'
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Feb 17 - 05:34 PM

The tune of the last 2 verses might be different, they don't scan properly to RRV, perhaps 'Mine eyes have seen the glory'.


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