Song For A Reluctant Soldier (In Memory Of Harry Joseph Foxall, 1886​-​1917)

by Les Étoiles

  • Streaming + Download




I wrote this song three years ago in memory of my great-great-uncle, Private Harry Joseph Foxall, who served in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry during the First World War and was killed in action in France on 19 May 1917.

Harry was apparently deeply reluctant to go to war, as many men were. But rather than speculate on Harry's views on the war, I thought I should try to focus on some of the other reasons why he would not have wanted to go and fight.

Born towards the end of 1886, Harry was living with his mother in Bridgnorth, Shropshire when the war started and had probably been working for at least ten years. It is most likely that he had never been outside of the West Midlands and even quite possible that he had never left Shropshire. In going to war he was not only going to fight in a country that was completely unknown to him, but he was also leaving behind all that he had ever known: his family, his home town, and the surrounding Shropshire countryside.


released May 19, 2017

Written, recorded and produced by David Fitzpatrick.

Thanks to Chris Loy for the use of the piano.




Les Étoiles London, UK

Originally from Bridgnorth in Shropshire, David Fitzpatrick has been releasing music under the name Les Étoiles since 2008. He writes quiet, wistful songs with understated piano or guitar accompaniment.

contact / help

Contact Les Étoiles

Streaming and
Download help

Track Name: Song For A Reluctant Soldier (In Memory Of Harry Foxall, 1886-1917)
Please don't make me leave
When I don't want to go
Please don't make me leave
My poor mother alone
I'll stay and I'll work
As I always have done
These ways and these people
Are all I have known
They're all I've ever known