The musical documentary Days of Pride was based on the memories of New Bradwell resident Hawtin Mundy, focusing on the Great War of 1914-18. It was first staged at Stantonbury in 1981, and revived in 1994 with the addition of Kevin Adams’ new song to provide a powerful and poignant finale – an anthem commemorating the thousands who died in the conflict.
Kevin says: ‘There was euphoria about enlisting to fight in the war: as Hawtin Mundy says, young men wanted to join in before it was too late.’
As soon as the war started, all the youth of the nation flocked to join - because you was taught it at school. Everyone was taught history, geography which proved as in the old sayings, ‘Britannia rules the waves… the sun never sets on the British Empire’ – and you was big King Dicks. You was taught that you owned the world practically and everyone simply joined up in crowds… I was twenty. It was a novelty, I looked forward to it because after serving an apprenticeship in the railways, I’d got to go away – but to go to a war, it seemed magnificent.
(Hawtin Mundy LAMK 1981)
There was about two or three hundred from the Railway Works and all around North Bucks – they put a special train on and took us all to Oxford.
(Frank Ellison Gillard LAMK 1981)
‘The last verse,’ says Kevin, ‘is directly from Hawtin.’
When I got old, me old darling and me, we had a ticket to go to the Albert Hall to the Remembrance Day Service on 11th November. When they dimmed the lights and the poppies began to fall, there was a loud clear voice:
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old, Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Now, remember who? I'll leave you to judge that.
(Hawtin Mundy 1981)
Images and interview extracts from LAMK archive.
The song is featured on on the Living Archive Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 1 (LAMK)