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Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery

Garry Gillard 21 Jan 01 - 04:45 AM
Jeri 21 Jan 01 - 08:22 AM
Garry Gillard 21 Jan 01 - 10:04 PM
Sorcha 21 Jan 01 - 10:11 PM
Sorcha 21 Jan 01 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,Ernest 22 Jan 01 - 02:19 AM
Jeri 22 Jan 01 - 05:36 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Jan 01 - 08:17 PM
GUEST 04 May 05 - 08:47 AM
gnomad 04 May 05 - 02:47 PM
Jim Dixon 06 May 05 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Lin Floyd 07 Mar 12 - 11:07 PM
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Subject: Heroes of St Valery
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 04:45 AM

I am asked by a correspondent for the words for this song. He writes, "You see, this song was the only song my Father used to sing. Unfortunately, my Father passed away last year and I would like to find the words and music. I have been completely unsuccessful up to now and to be honest I was getting fed up with the strange looks I was receiving from assistants in the major High Street Record stores because it doesn't appear to be hip asking for music for a song written 60 years ago."

The tune is played by Brass Monkey on Sound and Rumour, but there are no words.

Hope you can help,

Garry Gillard


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 08:22 AM

This web page about the recording "Celtic Sessions" by William Coulter has the following information on the tune:

"Neal Hellman learned The Heroes of St. Valery after hearing Martin Carthy play it in concert in Santa Cruz. Neal then taught it to me and we have been performing it together ever since. It is a retreat march, written by Pipe Major Donald MacLean from Lewis. He was a member of the 51st Highland Division, part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in 1939. Although the Division fought with great gallantry against the German offensive it was eventually forced to surrender at Saint-Valery-en-Caux. In 1944 after the Allies landed in Normandy, the 51st Highland Division was allowed the satisfaction of liberating Saint-Valery. The tune was first played at the Highland Brigade gathering in Edinburgh in 1947."

The tune is one Martin Carthy does in his video "British Fingerstyle Guitar"

At Iain Laird's webpage, in the Scottish section, there is history of the 51st Highland Division at St Valery.
NOTE: there is a .wav file of the march played by a pipe band that takes a (very) long time to load. This page states that the tune was composed based on a folk song Pipe Major MacLean heard.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 10:04 PM

Thanks, Jeri. My correspondent, Bill McGregor, has contacted Iain Laird thanks to your kind assistance, and although the tune on Iain's site is not the one he seeks, he is hopeful that IL may be able to find the right one.

It's beginning to look to me, however, as tho at least Martin Carthy's "Heroes of St Valery" is a tune without words. (But there may be another.)

cheers, Garry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 10:11 PM

Well, I found this:

The valour of the Highland Division is recalled in the pipe tune "The Heroes of St Valery" composed by Pipe Major Donald MacLean of Lewis. He is said to have based it on a folk song he heard at St Valry. The tune was first played at the Highland Brigade gathering in Edinburgh in 1947.
at: http://www.iain.laird.btinternet.co.uk/51st_Division_at_St_Valery.htm

So, I guess we keep looking for the "folk" tune......


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 10:20 PM

Everything else I can find is in French, about St. Valery, a town in France involved in the Battle of the Somme, or about St. Valerie, a Roman virgin martyr who lost an arm...........not much help tonight, am I?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: GUEST,Ernest
Date: 22 Jan 01 - 02:19 AM

Hello, I remember Davy Steele singing a song with the title when he was touring with the Battlefield Band. I don`t have a website or words at hand, but you may find with some search engine. This is the first time I may be able to help someone after finding loads of information here, so I am glad to be able to return something. All the best

Ernest


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Jan 01 - 05:36 PM

There's a song called "The Beaches of St Valery" by Elizabeth Clare on Battlefield Band's Rain, Hail or Shine. Here's Battlefield Band's main page.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Jan 01 - 08:17 PM

The Battlefield Band, as Jeri says, recorded a song entitled The Beaches of St. Valery on their album "Rain, Hail or Shine" (Temple Records in Europe, Rounder Records in the USA).  It is a modern song written by Davy Steele ("Elizabeth Clare" is, I think, just a tune coupled with it rather than a writer's credit) based on his father's and uncle's experiences in the evacuation of Dunkirk and its aftermath; Steele senior was rescued, but his brother, who was a little further south at St. Valery, was taken prisoner and spent the war as a POW.  Part of the point of the song is that those captured were heroes quite as much as those who remained free to fight again, but were often not treated as such; apparently Steele's uncle eventually emigrated to Canada, partly because of the way he felt he had been neglected in his native land.  I haven't heard it and so cannot speak for the tune, but I believe that he wrote that too, which would certainly explain why it's different from the pipe march.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 05 - 08:47 AM

Here is a link to a page that has the lyrics

www.3pintsgone.com/lyrics/StValery/StValerysong.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Heroes of St Valery
From: gnomad
Date: 04 May 05 - 02:47 PM

Thanks for that link, Guest, a damn fine song i.m.o.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BEACHES OF ST. VALERY (Davy Steele)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 May 05 - 09:31 AM

This probably isn't the song that was asked for, but here it is:

Lyrics and notes from the website of 3 Pints Gone:

THE BEACHES OF ST. VALERY
Words & Music by Davy Steele

1) It was in 1940, the last days of spring.
We were sent to the Maginot line,
A fortress in France, built to halt the advance
Of an army from a different time.
But we were soon overrun, out-thought and outgunned,
Pushed further back every day.
But we never believed high command would just leave us,
So we fought every step of the way.

2) 'Til the 51st Highlanders found themselves on
The banks of the Somme one more time.
It still bore the scars of that war to end wars,
The old soldier's scars deep in their minds.
But we didn't stay long, for the Panzers rolled on
As the battle raged west t'wards the sea,
Until on June the 10th, when sapped of all strength,
We entered St. Valery.

CHORUS: And all I recall is the last boat leavin',
My brother on board waving and calling to me,
And the Jocks stranded there wi' his hands in the air
On the beaches of St. Valery.

3) So I huddled all night in a hammered old house
As the shells and the bullets rained down.
'Til just before dawn, our hopes were still strong,
For we moved to the beach from the town,
But the boat that had left on the day we arrived
Was the last one that we'd ever see,
An' with no ammo or food, we had done all we could,
So we surrendered at St. Valery. CHORUS

4) When I returned at the end of the war
From the Stalag where I'd been confined,
I read of the battles the allies had fought:
Stalingrad, Alamein, and the Rhine.
And with pride in their hearts, people spoke of Dunkirk,
Where defeat had become victory,
But nobody mentioned that Highland Division.
They'd never heard of St. Valery.

5) No stories, no statues for those that were killed,
No honors for those who were gone;
Just a deep sense of shame as though we were to blame,
Though I knew in my heart we were not.
So I've moved to a country I've come to call home,
But my homeland lies far o'er the sea.
I will never return while my memory still burns
On the beaches of St. Valery. CHORUS

[Davy Steele's father & uncle were members of the 51st Highlands. His father made it out on the last transport, but his uncle didn't. He was in a POW camp in Germany until the end of the war.]


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: THE BEACHES OF ST VALERY (D Steele
From: GUEST,Lin Floyd
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 11:07 PM

Having listened to the battlefield band version, i believe these are the correct chords:

G D       C
It was in 1940, the last days of Spring.
               G             D          C
We were sent to the Maginot line,
AM7 G
A fortress in France, built to halt the advance,
C D
Of an army from a different time.
G D          C
But we were soon overrun, out-thought and outgunned.
GD            C
Pushed further back every day.
Am7 G
But we never believed high command would just leave us.
            C            AM7                    D
So we fought every step of the way

'Til the 51st Highlanders found themselves on

The banks of the Somme one more time.

It still bore the scars of that war to end wars.

The old soldier's scars deep in their minds.

But we didn't stay long for the Panzers rolled on

As the battle raged west t'wards the sea,

Until on June the 10th when sapped of all strength

We entered St. Valery

Chorus:
       C                        G
And all I recall is the last boat leavin'!
C                         Am7                            d7
My brother on board waving and calling to me
      G                      D                  C
And the Jocks stranded there wi' his hands in the air
          G                D       Cadd9
On the beaches of St. Valery

So I huddled all night in a hammered old house
As the shells and the bullets rained down
'Til just before dawn our hopes were still strong
For we moved to the beach from the town
But the boat that had left on the day we arrived
Was the last one that we'd ever see
An' with no ammo or food we had done all we could
Se we surrendered at St. Valery

Chorus:

4) When I returned at the end of the war,
From the Stalag where I'd been confined,
I read of the battles the allies had fought,
Stalingrad, Alamein, and the Rhine.
And with pride in their hearts people spoke of Dunkirk
Where defeat had become victory
But nobody mentioned that Highland Division.
They'd never heard of St.Valery


5) No stories no statues for those that were killed.
No honors for those who were gone.
Just a deep sense of shame as though we were to blame,
Though I knew in my heart we were not.
So I've moved to a country I've come to call home
But my homeland lies far o'er the sea.
I will never return while my memory still burns
On the beaches of St. Valery.

Chorus:


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