DONEGAL, IRELAND or THE PRICE THAT YOU PAID (Frank’s Song)
Wordsã Peter Russell Scott, Burleigh Waters,Qld, Australia 1995, 2005
Tune and format approximately after that of Kilkelly Ireland ã Peter Jones USA 1988
Donegal, Ireland, in Nineteen and Twenty, Partition had brought to an end
A happy childhood with no thought of sadness, as you fished on the banks of the Finn.
Your family is forced to find work in England, in the grey fields of Aylesbury Town
and life it is tough near the start of Depression, to emigrate offers a plan.
Fremantle, Australia, Nineteen twenty seven, and you’ve only nineteen
You’ve a job in the east but you head up on northward to try the Australian bush scene.
and you find work in Broome and the Murchison Goldfields, ‘round campfires, by billabongs green
Then on through the Kimberley, on up to Darwin, in an old truck piled high with benzine.
Sydney, Australia, in Nineteen and Forty, you’ve volunteered for khaki
The Army needs miners to train them as Diggers, to farewell from Circular Quay.
and a minefield goes up, in the sands of Tobruk, eight Sappers lie dead as can be
and you think of old Ireland and the bush of Australia, where you and Jim Russell roamed free.
Back on a troopship, laying off Java, to stem the threat of Japan
Sent back to Australia to save the East Indies, but thrown into Japanese hands.
and thousands are cast into prison in Changi, with little idea what’s to come,
And the Japs keep on planning their overland railway, the Diggers loom large in their sums.
You and the Sappers are sent up to Burma, and beaten and starved from the start
and Jimmy he died out at Kilo 100, you buried him with heavy heart.
But worse still to come for those still left standing, where chill winter gets into your bones,
Yours is the hell ship to reach Fukuoka, the other sunk to Davy Jones.
In Tamworth, Australia, you meet a young woman who understands some of your pain
You marry in March and you raise three young children, but the coalmines still stay in your brain.
and it’s hard to find jobs, and keep off the grog, and find doctors who understand why
Your back is all broken and twisted from beating, and you nerves are all shot to the sky.
Now that you’ve gone Frank, we’ll always remember what you and the Diggers all did
Airman, Sailors and Nurses, no comfort of hearses, the Freedom you won for your kids.
And we’ll always remember your love of this Country, and old Ireland where memory was made,
Happy and proud to be an Australian, in spite of the price that you paid.
Dedicated to the Memory of DX561 Lewis Frank Scott, DX562 James Russell and all other Sappers of the Field Companies of the Seventh Division, Australian Army 1940-1945. Also dedicated to Mavis Scott and the wives of ex-PoWs, who bore a lot of the burden of their husbands’ war trauma. Written by Frank’s eldest son Peter Scott (Field Engineer veteran of the Vietnam War) at the time of the “Australia Remembers” activities, 1995.
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