In 2019 PlaidSong performed at the Black Watch Museum, and we put together a set of songs with a suitably military theme called, Enlist Bonnie Laddie, Songs of the Scottish Soldier. Our idea that evening was to do a tour through songs associated with Scottish soldiering from the early border reivers, the Scots mercenaries who served in Germany, right up to the Great War and then we finished up with a popular song called, The D-Day Dodgers.
This song has a marvellous story as it was created by a soldier serving in WWII in Italy. Sergeant Harry Pynn was prompted to write a song because there was there an idea back home in Britain that the soldiers in Italy were having an easier time of it than those serving in France, they were thought to be “D-Day dodgers”.
On the evening at the Black Watch we realised there was a real live ‘D-day Dodger’ in our audience! George Stewart was a friend who had worked in forestry all his life, but we knew he had served in Italy where he was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. That evening I saw George sing along with us and he knew every word! We told the rest of the audience that this amazing person was sitting with us enjoying the performance and he enjoyed a hearty round of applause!
George said that night that the D-Day Dodgers was one of his favourite songs and he wanted to sing it and have it recorded. Recently we went to see George and we did exactly that – Syd played along while George sang the whole thing. He also did an introduction which gives you the story around the song too.