The Fighting North Novas
There’s a unit from down Nova Scotia
North Novas’ the Regiment’s name
Three years they waited in England
Till one day the zero hour came.
Young lads who were eager for action
Knew this to be their big chance
So they said farewell to “Old Blighty”
And on D-Day they landed in France. They fought their way up from the beaches
Those Hun counter-attackers were bold
But the order came down from the Colonel
“Men the ground we have we must hold.”
Moaning Minnies they burst all around them
They fought fiercely to hold back the Hun
The shelling was something Ungodly
But each man stuck fast to his gun.
They kept throwing it back at those Jerries
As around them their Buddies they fell
Out there in front of the spearhead
The North Novas were going through Hell.
At last the line was completed
As Monty kept pouring them in
Now the Boche is off to the races
In his heart he must know he can’t win.
Those lads weren’t out seeking glory
They knew that the job must be done
And the courage they showed there in action
Was tops and is second to none.
Here’s one big salute to the Scotties
May their deeds be known to the world
And remember the fighting North Novas’
Now that the old Victory flag’s unfurled.
(Composed by Capt. “Tex” C.)
(This first appeared in Vol. 1, No. 2, of THE MAYFLOWER on Sunday, October 7, 1945. THE MAYFLOWER was the overseas newspaper of the Nova Scotia Highlanders.
Sung by Benny Richards
Dip gently your scythe, good reaper,
O’er the fields of Calvados,
Tread softly Normandy’s furrowed earth
From Epron to the coast.
For the Harvest is not all the yield of the soil
Nor the furrows the mark of the plough,
But the earth’s rich red is the blood of the dead,
The dead who are sleeping now.
They came from the sea, like you and me,
But they beached on a steel rimmed coast
They carved their way thru the Hun at bay
And blasted the tyrant’s boast
That no might could breach the wave-locked shore,
No Allied foot gain hold,
The sea would be red with the blood of the dead
The dead who have been too bold.
On their left and right were Britain’s men
And from the South of the Forty-nine,
Comes the western flanks of the Allied ranks
Through mortar, shell and mine.
The wall was stormed, the beaches won
As skies grew sullen and wild
Till the strength of the mighty men of the sea
Seemed less than the strength of a child.
Three precious weeks they fought each yard
From their hand dug holes in the clay
Through the treacherous grain up the rising plain
To Malon and Lafolie.
Who will forget the Falaise Gap?
Or Pictou west of the Orne?
But at Authie and Gruchy and Franqueville
Were these later victories born.
Great cities and countries have fallen now
To the hosts this vanguard led
Let us not forget the debts we owe
To the oft unhonoured dead.
I have seen the hell where a hundred fell
At Rots and Grey LeVey
Midst the reeking corn all mortar torn
From Gazelle to Carpiquet.
Les Buissons is the resting place
Of men who cannot die
Glengarrians, Novas, Camerons, Hussars and H.L.I.
They learned to fight midst the fetid stench
At Buron and Periers
They pitted their youth ‘gainst the war learned craft
Of the Panzer Grenadiers.
So honour the men of the western plains
Black Devils, Regina’s, too;
The Queens, North Shores and Chaudieres,
And Scots from the western blue.
Victoria, Winnipeg, Ottawa
Sent sons for the treacherous trail
Who must feed the guns and the tanks and the men
The men who dare not fail.
There were gunners and sappers from homes which range
From the East to the setting sun, And many lie where the ripening rye
Danced to the devil’s fun.
They do not ask a golden casque
Or a tower of graven stone
But that men might live in a world set free
From guilt by their blood atoned.
Dip gently your scythe, good reaper,
O’er the fields of the hallowed dead
For young men fought and young men died
Near the sea where the earth is red.
(Composed by Hon/Capt. Stanley E. Higgs, padre of the 3rd. Canadian Infantry Division was administering last rites to the dying soldiers on German soil. Well known and beloved by the Third Division, he was especially popular with the men of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, the unit with which he had gone overseas. Stanley Higgs would live out his days in Vancouver after the War)