View Full Version : Passiondale (The Unknown Soldier)

Martin Hall-Kenny
03-03-2007, 05:04 PM
I wrote this song last year following a visit to Ypres. The area is still littered with the detritus of the 1st World War. Walking across the fields of battle, you can still look down and see shell and bullet fragments. The atmosphere encourages one to remain silent. In a battle which lasted four months, there were 900,000 casualties. An ariel photograph taken immiediately after the battle identified 10,000 shell craters in a 1 square mile area. The tomb of the unknown soldier beneath the Arch de Triumph in Paris, has the body of one of those killed in this battle. To this day, they don't know for which side he fought... and it doesn't matter.

Passiondale (The Unknown Soldier)

One day I dreamed of glory, I heard my countrys call
I signed upon the dotted line, wed make the Kaiser fall
They said that Id be home in time to hear the Christmas bells
Now three years on, all I can hear s the sound of jerry shells

I fought my way through miles of wire with my mate Tommy Brown
I saw his head explode in red as a bullet took him down
I saw Pete Jenkins break in fear though for courage hed no lack
Our officer coming close behind, he shot him in the back

Ch I am the unknown soldier, I died at passiondale
My soul it flies to paradise, while my body lies in hell
I am the unknown soldier & unknown Ill remain
For good or ill we took that hill, then we gave it back again x2

The land was shelled to pieces, nowhere could it drain
The muck was mud & death & blood washed down with constant rain
The duckboards slick & greasy spanned its depths unknown
And if you slip to miss the lead, then chances are youll drown

Now as the sun sinks slowly down, a single bird takes wing
The body on the craters edge cant hear the song she sings
And I am there among the dead, of me theyll find no trace
And I will never feel again my mothers sweet embrace


Oh mother dear, please do not cry, for your son do not grieve
I fought the fight for what was right, if generals we believe
9000 times 100 men now join with me in song
All those who died at Passiondale, join those upon the Somme

Ch x2

03-03-2007, 05:30 PM
This is a very powerful and moving tribute, Martin. and captures its subject beautifully. I'd love to hear the music to it.

Jim Hoye (JRH)

Martin Hall-Kenny
03-03-2007, 05:35 PM
You can get it at;

03-03-2007, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the link Martin,

I very much enjoyed the 1st 3 songs you had posted but, regrettably, I couldn't get the one for "The Unknown Soldier" to play. (It appeared to run but I got no sound on my end.

I can see where you might sound like Jim Croce, (at least when singing his songs) but you have your own voice and it seems well suited to the type of music you do.

Excellent work.


Martin Hall-Kenny
03-03-2007, 06:01 PM
Its a strange start... the level is too low but if you give it about thirty seconds, it should come on. I will go back and check it though.

Martin Hall-Kenny
03-03-2007, 06:03 PM
Yep! I checked it, and it plays.

03-03-2007, 06:16 PM
You're right. A little patience did the trick.

I like it very much, particularly the contrast between the Verse and the Chorus.
I can't say that I can see it as a "Popular" song (even in a "Folk Market") but it would be great for performance.

Well done,


Martin Hall-Kenny
03-03-2007, 06:48 PM
I agree entirely. I've had 'older' people who fought in the 2nd WW in tears with that song as they remember similar things. As a song, its a bit too long but...

03-04-2007, 12:25 AM
This is a very powerful and visual work, Martin. This evokes images in my mind of Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Paths of Glory. Well done.

Now I'm off to follow your link.