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Convoy to Scotland
Come all you Newfoundlanders who sailed away with me,|
Way back in 1940, across the briny sea. And see if you can still recall as I recall today,
The days we sailed from Newfoundland, to Scotland far away. 'Twas at the start of World War II when England was in distress,
Called out for Newfie lumberjacks, the bravest and the best. It seems they needed wooden poles to drive into the sand,
To build a sort of barricade, Should the Germans try to land. The call for help was answered, and soon we made our way,
The young and old - the large and small, from every cove and bay. We gathered at our starting points along the railway track,
And once we got on board the train there was no turning back. From Port-aux-Basques to St. John's town we slowly made our way,
And sang and joked all through the night and half-way through next day. A thousand voices split the air as we got off the train,
And stepped into the fog and slush and good old St. John's rain. I guess we had a mid-day meal but what I can't recall,
But being Newfoundlanders I bet we ate it all. We had to have a medical, and when we asked them why,
The doctor said we must be sure that you are fit to die. We got our passport photographs and our five-dollar bill,
And as I have a Scottish name, I guess I've got mine still. We went down to the dock side as it was going dark,
And for our journey overseas were ordered to embark. We sailed out through the Narrows, beneath the darkening skies,
And our last look at Newfoundland was seen through misty eyes. The ocean lay before us with danger all around,
And yet not one down-hearted man among us could be found. For in the faith by which we lived, we trusted God's right hand,
To guide us through the perils of war and bring us safe to land. As we sat for our evening meal our journey had begun,
And through the night to Halifax we made a steady run. We waited for the convoy ships that shortly we would join,
It took at least a day or two to get them into line. The waiting soon was over and we were on our way,
Across the broad Atlantic to Scotland far away. For seventeen long days we sailed, with U-Boats ever near,
But we were having so much fun we had no time to fear. At last we reached our journey's end. and sailing up the Clyde,
With something new around each bend, our joy we could not hide. We shouted Newfie greetings to every Scot we say,
They shouted "go home loonies, ye dinna look sa braw" We spent a night in Gourock Docks, but early the next day,
To our appointed lumber camps by coach we made our way. Before we left the dockside some newsmen from the press,
Came down to snap the lumberjacks, the biggest and the best. We had some hefty fellows among our gallant crew,
We all tried hard to get a place but they said ten will do. We tried to stay together with friends of childhood days,
But orders had been given, which sent us different ways. The order was a harsh one, and caused a lot of pain,
As life-long friends were parted, never to meet again. From Scotland South to Scotland North the lumberjacks did go,
And with the axe and buck-saw, the Scottish pines laid low. From early morn to nine at night our saws were never still,
We often turned a forest tall into a desert hill. And when the day's work ended we didn't go to bed,
We changed our clothes, got on our bikes and went to town instead. We found the Scottish people so very like our own,
Big-hearted, kind and gentle, they made us feel at home. But that was many years ago, and I am sure like me,
You'll not forget the days we spent across the briny sea. Good luck to all survivors, wherever you may be,
Long may you live and still recall, that convoy trip with me.
Military Records Contact: Daniel B. Breen
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