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NICHOLAS MERCER: Paying tribute through song to those who serve

Glynn Abbott (left) and his music makers perform in the video for "Yours."
Glynn Abbott (left) and his music makers perform in the video for

Glynn Abbott’s father didn’t speak much of his time in combat.

Like most who returned from the front lines, Roy Abbott didn’t want the relive what he saw while in service.

Glynn isn’t sure why his father didn’t speak of it. Perhaps he saw things he’d rather forget and bringing them up meant reliving any close calls at sea or abroad.

It was common. Conditions were brutal and the destruction was plentiful.

Roy was a navy man. He was 23 when he joined the Royal Navy and spent the duration of the Second World War on various ships in the war.

One of which was the HMS Ravager, which served as an escort vessel and transported aircraft for the navy.

Glynn Abbott
Glynn Abbott

His father is part of the reason 71-year-old Glynn is paying tribute to service men and women with a new music video for the song "Yours," a tune wartime singer Vera Lynn made famous several years after the conclusion of the Second World War.

“It is a beautiful love song,” said the Corner Brook native who now lives in Kitchener, Ont. “Everybody seems to like it.”

The song is originally a Spanish song from the early part of the 1900s and was first recorded by Tito Schipa in 1922.

It was recorded by Vera Lynn in 1952 and reached as high as seventh on the US charts.

Young was known as the Forces’ Sweetheart. For parts of the Second World War, the British born songstress visited army bases in Egypt, India and Burma.

There she would perform outdoor concerts for the troops stationed there. In 1941, she started a radio program that sent messages to British soldiers overseas. During the show, she and group of singers would take requests from soldiers and sing their songs over the air.

Glynn's video is a callback to a war movie, or a "picture," as it would have been called in my grandfather’s day.

It features shots of Glynn and his band singing the song, as well as footage from the war.

Shot in black and white, it tells the story of lovers waiting to find each other at the end of the war.

At one point, Glynn plays the part of a soldier waiting for the chance to hold his sweetheart in his arms again.

It’s the second such solder tribute for Glynn.

In 2014, he shot a video for the song, "Unseen Uniform." It followed a similar pattern to his latest as it cuts together performance footage and images of soldiers in combat.

There is no shortage of songs that pay homage to the men and women who gave their lives, and those who still serve in combat.

You think of "Highway of Heroes," by The Trews, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and "No Man’s Land" by Eric Bogle, as well as a host of others, when you think of songs that fit the category.

If we want to look closer to home, Great Big Sea’s "Recruiting Sergeant" fits the bill. It pays homage to the Blue Puttees and their slaughter at the Beaumont Hamel on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Songs, poems and films have a way of immortalizing their sacrifice. They aren’t just reserved for Nov. 11 or July 1.

They’re played more than their fair share at any time and they don’t just honour the fallen or past soldiers; they honour current ones and the future.

A singer since the early '60s when he’d play in a band called The Mustangs, among others, Glynn sees it as a way to pay tribute to his father and all of those how served.

Glynn's father and all of his uncles were military men. Same with his son-in-law and his granddaughter.

His aunt was a member of the Canadian Air Force in the Second World War.

For Glynn, it made sense for him to honour them.

“Mom would be pretty proud,” he said.

Nicholas Mercer is the online editor with The Western Star. He lives in Corner Brook and can be reached at Nicholas.mercer@thewesternstar.com.

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