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Communist Version of Sussex By The Sea

GeoffLawes 07 Jun 11 - 06:45 PM
GeoffLawes 08 Jun 11 - 04:41 PM
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Subject: Communist Version of Sussex By The Sea
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 06:45 PM

COMMUNIST VERSION OF SUSSEX BY THE SEA

by Ernie Trory

Brass Band version of the Tune on YouTube
HERE

Now is the time for marching, under our banners red,
Rank upon rank advancing, surely we forge ahead,
So let your voices ring, comrades, all who would be free,
And we'll sing a song as we march along,
Of peace and liberty.
For we are the men from Sussex, Sussex by the sea,
We plough and sow and reap and mow, and useful men are we,
And when you go from Sussex, wherever you may be,
You can tell them all that we stand or fall,
For peace and liberty.

Sussex, Sussex men are we,
On our march to victory,
Workingmen unite, we can win the fight,
And Sussex shall be free.

Out of the years of struggle, out of the years of toil,
Stride forth the people's heroes, sons of the Sussex soil,
The banner that they raised aloft, our heritage today,
We will bear with pride, marching side by side,
Where they have led the way.
Far o'er the seas we wander, wide through the world we roam,
Into the Spanish trenches, fighting for those at home,
Wherever there's a fight, comrades, to save democracy.
You can be sure then, you will find the men,
Of Sussex by the sea.

These words are reproduced from Between The Wars" (Recollections Of A Communist Organiser), Ernie Trory, Crabtree Press 1974. ISBN 0950350303 & 9780950350301

The book is the recollections of Ernie Trory, a communist historian and party organiser from Sussex who says in the bookthat he wrote new words for the famous Sussex song ( Wikipedia entry) especially for a Communist Party demonstration in 1938.He says, on pages 112 and 113:

The whole Party threw itself whole-heartedly into the preliminary work of producing historical banners, making flags and generally giving publicity to the forthcoming event. A thousand copies of a souvenir programme were printed and put on sale well in advance. For the first time the Brighton and Hove Herald gave us an advanced write-up, commenting on our programme as follows:

" The souvenir programme of the march sets out the part that Sussex men have played in history, and mentions such figures as Jack Cade, Deryk Carver and Tom Paine. It refers to the foundations of the Brighton Communist Party in 1926, and finishes up with the significant line, '1937: Tom Elloit, secretary of the Worthing Labour Party, is killed in action. somewhere in Spain'
" On the back of the pamphlet are set out a Communist version of 'Sussex by the Sea' and the 'International'."
The song referred to, "Sussex by the Sea"," was in its original form adopted as the marching song of the Sussex County Regiment. We kept the tune, which went with a good swing, but I rewrote the words giving them the social significance needed for our forthcoming demonstration. Later our version became very popular in the Labour Movement and in many ways better known than the original.

On the Sunday afternoon of the 7th August 1938, the demonstration lined up in front of the Brighton Labour Club in London Road, headed by the South West London Workers' Band, borrowed for the occasion.
Behind the band massed red flags were carried by gaily dressed girls. Then came the historical banners interspersed with the branch banners of the four main branches. The whistle blew and the drums thunderedout, bugles sounded and the march moved forward. After the bugles had played for some time they stopped and the marchers began to sing:

"Now is the time for marching, under our banners red,
Rank upon rank advancing, surely we forge ahead,
So let your voices ring, comrades, all who would be free,
And we'll sing a song as we march along,
Of peace and liberty.
For we are the men from Sussex, Sussex by the sea,
We plough and sow and reap and mow, and useful men are we,
And when you go from Sussex, wherever you may be,
You can tell them all that we stand or fall,
For peace and liberty.
Sussex, Sussex men are we,
On our march to victory,
Workingmen unite, we can win the fight,
And Sussex shall be free."

The marchers stepped out happily through Castle Square, singing as they went. Everyone was surprised at the strength of the Communist Party in Sussex could show, Curious sightseers craned their necks to read the inscriptions on the banners. We felt conscious of our responsibility for carrying on the traditions of those who had fought in the past.

"Out of the years of struggle, out of the years of toil,
Stride forth the people's heroes, sons of the Sussex soil,
The banner that they raised aloft, our heritage today,
We will bear with pride, marching side by side,
Where they have led the way."

At the Clock Tower the police had to hold up the traffic, while we turned into West Street> The salt sea air blew up from the sea, blowing the banners proudly. The holiday crowds stopped to watch the procession, commenting on the portraits of the Sussex men fighting in Spain.
"Far o'er the seas we wander, wide through the world we roam,
Into the Spanish trenches, fighting for those at home,
Wherever there's a fight, comrades, to save democracy.
You can be sure then, you will find the men,
Of Sussex by the sea."


Many thanks to Mike Anderson, of the International Brigades Memorial Trust who drew my attention to this song and sent me the information from the book which I used to compile this post.

A Mudcat thread about the original song and other variants

Does anyone have more information about this song?

This post has also been added to the Mudcat thread called Songs in English about the Spanish Civil War, HERE


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Subject: RE: Communist Version of Sussex By The Sea
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 08 Jun 11 - 04:41 PM

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