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The Bloody Fields of Flanders

This is a pipe march version of an old Perthshire song tune, sometimes called ‘Busk Busk Bonnie Lassie’, sometimes called ‘Bonny Glenshee’.

The pipe march was made during World War I. In 1943, during World War II, songmaker and collector Hamish Henderson heard the pipe tune played on the beachhead at Anzio in Italy, and remembered it when he came to write his famous song ‘The Freedom Come-All-Ye’.

Henderson also used this tune for another of his fine songs, ‘The John MacLean March’.

Another Scottish writer, Cliff Hanley, used a different version of the same march tune for another song that some people think should be Scotland’s national anthem, ‘Scotland the Brave’. Hanley’s song begins:

Hark when the night is falling. Hear! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling, down through the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping, now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Towering in gallant fame, Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour, land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever, Scotland the brave.

Listen to 'The Bloody Fields of Flanders' as played by Josh Dickson.
From Traditional Scottish Songs and Music, Gallus Recordings.

  • The Bloody Fields of Flanders