“The Valley of Kilbride”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1976 (Lehr/Best)
Keywords: war dying France soldier death family farewell
Found in: Canada(Newf)

Description

On a French battlefield, a soldier from Newfoundland thinks back to "boyhood days in the valley of Kilbride." A dying soldier asks him to comfort his parents, sister, and the girl he used to walk with "in Bowring Park."

Notes

Lehr/Best speculates that "this song was possibly written by Johnny Burke." If [this] is right, the ballad refers to World War I. Burke died in 1930.

Bowring Park in Saint John's was opened in 1911 (Source: Tide's Point Magazine site for the "Newfoundland and Labrador Magazine for Workers"). GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador site includes the following note for "The Valley of Kilbride," but does not claim the battle is the inspiration for the Ballad: "Between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., on July 1, 1916, the First Newfoundland Regiment, part of the 29th British Division, was virtually annihilated at Beaumont Hamel as they advanced into point-blank enemy fire. Of the 801 who went into battle, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day."

Kilbride is a suburb south of St John's. I don't know about a Valley of Kilbride. - BS

References

  1. Lehr/Best 113, "The Valley of Kilbride" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LeBe113