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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Who was Willie McBride in Eric Bogle original No Man's Land ( "The Green Fields of France")

Nice version sung in English and German

According to the song, the gravestone of the soldier, Willie McBride, says he was 19 years old when he died in 1916. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, there were eight soldiers named "William McBride", and a further six listed as "W. McBride", who died in France or Belgium during World War I but none matches the soldier in the song. Two "William McBrides" and one "W. McBride" died in 1916 but one is commemorated in the Thiepval Memorial and has no gravestone. The other two are buried in the Authuille Military Cemetery but one was aged 21 and the age of the other is unknown. All three were from Irish regiments.[3]'s_Land_(Eric_Bogle_song)

Piet Chielens, coordinator of the In Flanders Fields War Museum in Ypres, Belgium, and organizer of yearly peace concerts in Flanders, once checked all 1,700,000 names that are registered with the Commonwealth War Commission. He found no fewer than ten Privates William McBride.[citation needed] Three of these William McBrides fell in 1916; two were members of an Irish Regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and died more or less in the same spot during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. One was 21, the other 19 years old. The 19-year-old Private William McBride is buried in Authuille British Cemetery, near Albert and Beaumont-Hamel, where the Inniskilling Fusilliers were deployed as part of the 29th Division.[3].

[edit] Cover versions and recordingsThe song (as "The Green Fields of France") was a huge success for The Furey Brothers and Davey Arthur in the 1980s in Ireland and beyond. The melody and words vary somewhat from the Eric Bogle original. It was also recorded by Dropkick Murphys, who changed the lyrics only slightly. Eric Bogle has repeatedly stated that his own favourite recording of the song is by John McDermott.

Film maker Pete Robertson[4] used the Dropkick Murphys version in his 2008 short film The Green Fields of France.[5][6]'s_Land_(Eric_Bogle_song)

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