Anti-World War I song censored for Royal British Legion


This music video is called Eric Bogle – The Green Fields of France. Also known as ‘No Man’s Land‘. The (complete, uncensored) lyrics are here.

By Richard Bagley in Britain:

Campaigners hit out at removal of song’s anti war message

Saturday 8th November 2014

Pop star Joss Stone was embroiled in a political row yesterday after releasing a “sanitised” version of a classic anti-war anthem for the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal.

Peace campaigners have slammed the version of Eric Bogle’s ballad No Man’s Land, which hit the shops on Monday in advance of Remembrance Sunday.

The sentimental track by Ms Stone and guitarist Jeff Beck cuts two and a half verses from the original four, including lines declaiming “man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.”

Also missing is its poignant anti-war crescendo: “Did you really believe that this war would end wars?/Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame/The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain/For Willie McBride, it all happened again/And again, and again, and again, and again.”

Thousands have already bombarded the RBL with complaints over the release via an online petition demanding that it apologise.

But in a statement to the Morning Star yesterday the organisation hit back, saying it “rejects the premise of a campaign claiming that it has ‘sanitised’ the anti-war message.”

It suggested that the campaign was rooted in a “selective and misleading interpretation of a letter written by Eric Bogle.”

The original songwriter, who was not involved in the new version, gave his own take after being inundated with queries.

He said the Stone release “certainly doesn’t glorify it, but doesn’t condemn it either.

“Sentimentalising, perhaps, but not glorifying.”

He agreed that the “strong anti-war message” of the original had been diminished.

“Missing some crucial verses does not help.”

But musician Lisa Rigby branded the changes “a shameful omission.”

“All those lost to war are best commemorated by meaningful efforts to stop war entirely,” she said.

Joss Stone butchers No Mans Land: here.

The Royal British Legion, who run the Poppy Appeal, have in recent years shown a tendency to misuse the message of remembrance to encourage a pro-war, jingoistic agenda. They have now taken things a step further by using an anti-war song in a fundraising film – after taking the anti-war lyrics out: here.

See also here.

Legion Scotland has defended its decision to drop “Royal British” from its name after criticism from pro-union supporters. The veterans’ charity said the rebranding was not a political move, but “the day-to-day name” was adopted to differentiate it from the Royal British Legion south of the border: here.

5 thoughts on “Anti-World War I song censored for Royal British Legion

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