Beaches of St. Valery
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 3. The Beaches of St. Valery

Words & Music by Davey Steel 

Bill Masino – Lead vocal
Kathleen Mullaly Masino - Harmony vocal
Colin O'Brian - Acoustic Guitar
Liisa Church - Violin

Dedication    The Beaches of St Valery is dedicated to Bill's father & uncles and the men & women of their generation, the finest our country has ever seen, for their sacrifices in WWII. And to our good friend Sam, who is of that same mold. 

Song introduction by Bill Masino:
 
"In my opinion, this song is one of the most important songs written in the 20th century." 
 
Someone once said, poor is the country with no heroes and worse yet, is the country that forgets it's heroes. 
 
This is exactly what happened to the 51st Highlanders.  In WWII the 51st Highlands were left behind to guard the retreat at Dunkirk.  This allowed what was left of the British, French and Belgium armies to escape to England, making it impossible for the Nazi to invade England.  Which, in turn, giving the American forces a base from which to liberate Europe.
 
Davey Steel '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.

 

Lyrics:

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
     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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