Internationally-acclaimed Songwriter,
Performer and Recording Artist
from County Durham, England

Gary Miller Songs

"As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him"
Green Man Review, USA

 

The Durham Light Infantry

 

Original Lyrics

Revised Lyrics

When I was just a young lad I used to mine the land 

With a pick across my shoulder or a shovel in my hand 

But then the bloody war came and my hero's instincts grew 

And the posters in the street said "Your country needs you" 

"Your country needs you" and I knew then what I must do 


So Billy signed up for a soldier's bloody wage 

And Jimmy joined the navy so that he could rule the waves 

And they stood so proud and smart in their uniforms so new 

And the people lined the street with flags coloured red white and blue 

Coloured red white and blue and you'll die for your country too 


So we're off my boys through the hell and the noise

To die for our country 

And they’ll raise a cross to remember the loss

Of the Durham Light Infantry


In the muddy fields of Flanders we fought like men from hell 

And the ground itself was ripped apart where all my best mates fell 

Jacky Cranston got his balls blown off and a shell took Chorley's leg 

And in all that hell and madness I wished that I was dead 

I wished that I was dead and all the sky was filled with lead 


So we buried all our dead, at least those that could be found 

As well as bits of bodies that were scattered all around 

And it made me sick with anger at the things the war had done 

But when it was all over we still kept marching on 

We still kept marching on though all my mates are dead and gone 


So we're off my boys through the hell and the noise

To die for our country 

And they’ll raise a cross to remember the loss

Of the Durham Light Infantry


Now we'll sing a song of victory that was paid for with the brave 

But we're left only with monuments and an unknown soldier's grave 

And a special day once every year to remember them to God 

And commemorate their bravery with a poppy the colour of blood 

A poppy the colour of blood; we've paid too high a price with all that blood 


So we're off my boys through the hell and the noise

To die for our country 

And they’ll raise a cross to remember the loss

Of the Durham Light Infantry

 

(Gary Miller)


© 1989 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS

When I was but a young lad I hewed coal below this land 

With a pick across me shoulder or a shovel in me hand 

But then the Great War came and a spirit of adventure grew

While the posters in the street said "Your Country Needs You!” 

Your country needs you! I knew then what I must do


I lined up to volunteer for a soldier's bloody wage 

I strode up to the desk and boldly lied about me age

They gave me a serge uniform of ‘Kitchener Blue’

Flags waved, brass bands played and huge crowds cheered too

But no-one really knew just what we’d gotten ourselves into


So we're off my boys through the hell and the noise

To die for our country 

And they’ll raise a cross to remember the loss

Of the Durham Light Infantry


In the muddy fields of Flanders we fought like men from Hell 

As the ground itself was ripped apart where all me best mates fell 

The lad right next to me took a bullet to the head 

And in all that hell and madness I wished that I was dead 

As the sky wept tears of lead, while the ‘Faithful Durhams’ bled


We buried all our dead, at least those that could be found 

As well as bits of bodies that were scattered all around 

And it made me sick with anger at the things the War had done 

But when one campaign was over they gave us another one

So I still kept marching on though all my mates were dead and gone 


So we're off my boys through the hell and the noise

To die for our country 

And they’ll raise a cross to remember the loss

Of the Durham Light Infantry


Let there be no songs of victory upon Armistice Day

For the pathos of the poets can never wash the stains away

And with the Pawns of War the Masters never will be done

So the ‘Dirty Little Imps’ will still be called upon

Once this ‘War To End All Wars’ is won, to fight on and on and on


So we're off my boys through the hell and the noise

To die for our country 

And they’ll raise a cross to remember the loss

Of the Durham Light Infantry


(Gary Miller)


© 1989 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS

 

Notes

‘The Durham Light Infantry’ was only the second song Gary ever wrote for The Whisky Priests back in 1985, when he was 19 years old. It was eventually recorded and released as the final track on the band’s debut album ‘Nee Gud Luck’ in 1989.


In October 2017, Gary was approached by the DLI Research and Study Centre at Seven Hills, Spennymoor, County Durham, England, asking for permission to use the Whisky Priests version of ‘The Durham Light Infantry’ in 'When the Bugle Calls', a travelling exhibition about the music of The Durham Light Infantry.


Gary made the important decision to revisit the song and bring it more up-to-date with revised lyrics and a brand new arrangement for brass. Working with his regular producer Iain Petrie at Awake Music!, a brass arrangement was created and a complete score, written by Iain and professional music scorer Sam Lord was presented by Gary to the Ferryhill Town Band, who took up the challenge of performing the piece specially for the project.


The new version of the song was then recorded as part of Gary's 'From Coalfield to Battlefield' project, which developed directly through the exhibition and was one of four songs from the project to be performed at the 'When the Bugle Calls' launch event at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on 5th December 2017.


Also as part of these respective linked projects, Gary's creative partner, artist, designer and illustrator Helen Temperley produced an illustrations to accompany the song (see opposite image).

Helen Temperley's accompanying illustration.

 
 

Releases (on Whippet Records unless otherwise stated)


Original Studio Version

The Whisky Priests

Nee Gud Luck

CD/Cassette/LP

(WPTCD4/WPTC4/WPT4) 1989

 

Video Clips

Gary Miller & Ferryhill Town Band 'The Durham Light Infantry'
official promotional video with lyrics.

The original version of 'The Durham Light Infantry'
by The Whisky Priests from the band's debut album 'Nee Gud Luck' in 1989.

 

Ferryhill Town Band rehearsing 'The Durham Light Infantry',
at the backing track recording session, at Mainsforth and
District Institute, Ferryhill, on 28th November 2017.