Have you ever wondered if a favorite song of yours had a basis in fact?
In the song “The Green Fields of France,” the narrator reflects upon the grave of Willie McBride, a young man who died as a soldier in World War I. In one verse, he asks Willie:
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Forever enshrined behind some old glass pane
In an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?
As family historians, we hate to leave photos of relatives unidentified. The more that I have played the song, the more I have wondered if there was a real Willie McBride—and I finally decided to do something about it. Continue reading The True Story of Young Willie McBride