WW1 commemorative album
Forever, is a very special album of spoken word and music commemorating the centenary of the First World War, released on Decca Records.
The Prime Minister, comedians, soap stars, Hollywood actors and the cast of War Horse have been brought together to mark and evoke the most haunting moments of the war.
The Legion and the Victoria Cross Trust also spent months tracking down descendants of a specific group of Victoria Cross recipients who also participated in this unique collection of recordings.
Buy your copy now from our Poppy Shop. Also available on Amazon and other outlets.
Contents of the album
Included on the album are the following spoken word tracks:
- ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke, read by The Prime Minister, David Cameron
- ‘In Memoriam’ by Ewart Alan Mackintosh, read by Danny Dyer
- Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, read by Cold Feet star John Thomson
- Amy Lowell’s haunting sonnet ‘From One Who Stays’, read by Sarah Millican
- ‘Futility’ by Wilfred Owen, read by TV historian Dan Snow
- ‘For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon, read by Radio 4's Today programme presenter Jim Naughtie
- ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ by Wilfred Owen, read by Sean Bean
- ‘In Flanders Fields’by John McCrae, read by Stephen Fry
- ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, read by descendants of Victoria Cross recipients
The readings are set to music, including instrumental versions of ‘Abide With Me’, ‘The Day Thou Gavest’ and ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’, as well as tracks recorded by The Central Band of The Royal British Legion, who recreated the sounds and atmosphere of classics such as:
- ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’
- ‘Keep the home fires burning’ (sung by soprano Laura Wright)
- ‘Pack up your troubles’
Also featured is a bugle played on the battlefields of Belgium and France, heard here on the ‘Last Post’ fanfare. The track Only Remembered from the stage version of War Horse was recorded especially for this album by the cast.
Descendants of VC recipients
The most moving contribution saw Decca recording engineers carefully piece together the 10 descendants of the First World War Victoria Cross recipients’ voices for In Flanders Fields; each paying a personal tribute to their relative's heroism in this priceless moment of audio history.
"It means so much to me and my family to be a part of this. It's brilliant that The Royal British Legion have given us this opportunity to tell our families' stories. We – as a family – are so proud of my Great Grandfather Arthur, but we have to remember that he was just one hero, there were millions more who took part in that awful war and each one of them is a hero too."Victor Harbige, 57, Ashford
Victor’s great grandfather Lance Corporal Arthur Henry Cross VC, received the VC on 25 March 1918 in Ervillers, France. Having volunteered to make a reconnaissance of two captured machine-guns, he headed out through no-man’s-land to the enemy trench and armed only with a revolver forced seven of the enemy to surrender.
Cross subsequently marched them back to British lines, forcing them to carry the captured guns, tripods and ammunition. After Handing over the prisoners, he collected a team of soldiers to man the re-captured guns that he brought back into action, destroying a heavy counter-attack by the enemy.
"I don’t remember an awful lot about my Great Grandfather, but I do remember him telling about how he won his medal, he said: 'Look. They nicked my guns and I wanted them back. Simple’.”Victor, recalling his great grandfather’s account