Person list


  • John MacDonald


  • Traditional

Locations associated with this song:

Background Info:

The song (also known as The July Drive) was written by John McDonald (1874-1948), a farmer from Kilbride, a small community on the outskirts of St. John's. McDonald was well-known as a singer and reciter and on Saturday nights his friends would await his arrival to provide some of the evening's entertainment – old songs and poems, as well as new ones he had written. The Valleys of Kilbride was written immediately after the first world war and tells the true story of a boy named Neville and a girl from Topsail Road. The melody of this version is from the singing of Dorman Ralph, a singer and accordionist from Little Harbour Deep, White Bay, and long-time resident of St. John's. The lyrics have been edited by Geraldine Chafe Rubia, the author's granddaughter, using texts from a variety of sources. The song has been recorded by Tickle Harbour and The Once.
Eric West, All Together Now...Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador –Volume 3
© Vinland Music. Reproduced with permission



On a battle field in sunny France a hero brave did stand;
He thought of friends he loved so well in dear old Newfoundland:
In fancy too he again did view the dear old river side,
And the home he loved in boyhood days in the valleys of Kilbride.

His comrade who was wounded there lay dying on the field,
Those plucky Newfoundlanders would die before they’d yield;
In the July Drive they proved their worth where shot and shell did fly,
On no-man’s land they rushed across, you could hear their charging cry.

When this dying comrade raised his hand and signaled to draw near,
He said, “Dear Jack these parting words I want for you to hear”,
He said, “Dear Jack these parting words I want for you to tell,
To mother dear, and my brother, likewise my sister Nell.”

“Tell mother not to weep for me, but pray for me each day,
And whisper words of comfort Jack, to her so far away;
And whisper words of comfort Jack, and take her by the hand,
And tell her in the July Drive, how bravely we did stand.”

“There’s a fair-haired girl who waits for me, and thinks that I’ll come home,
But tell her that through Bowering Park we never more will roam;
Her face I never more will see, for now we have to part,
But still her memory lingers on within my bleeding heart.”

His voice grew weak, he scarce could speak, as he grasped his comrade’s hand,
He said, “Please bring these tidings back to dear old Newfoundland;
I know that I am dying with the pain that’s in my side,
My home I never more will see, in the valleys of Kilbride.”

from All Together Now...Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador –Volume 3

See lyrics on a page by themselves