The Green Fields of France
(No Man's Land)
Music and Lyrics by Eric Bogle as performed by the Furey Brothers

Editor's Note:  Some may say this song is obsolete. "The Green Fields of France" refers to Flanders Field where many fallen soldiers of World War I are buried.  The song was written in 1976. It's last verse asks the question "Did they really believe this war would end war?" It seems to us, the only possible answer is "War is not the answer".

Well how do you do young Willie McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side
And rest for a while 'neath the warm summer sun?
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done
I see by your grave stone you were only nineteen
When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen
I hope you died well and I hope you died clean
Or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly

Did they play the fife lowly
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
And did the band play the last post and chorus
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

Did you leave you a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
Although you died back in nineteen sixteen
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name
And closed in forever behind the glass frame
In an old photograph torn battered and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leathern frame?


The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze it makes the red poppies dance
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there's no gun firing now
But here in this graveyard its still no-man's land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned


Ah young Willie McBride I can't help wondering why
Do those that lie here know why did they die
And did they believe when they answered the call
Did they really believe that this war would end war
Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying were all done in vain
For young Willie McBride it's all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again

Refrain (twice)

Published by  Citizens for Selective Service Education  - Updated April 11, 2006