Media release: Ricky Ross composes new song in memory of the Unknown Warrior


RICKY Ross, singer-songwriter and BBC radio presenter, has composed a song inspired by the symbolic figure of the Unknown Warrior for Armistice Day.

The story of his Ballad of the Unknown Warrior will feature in an hour-long BBC Radio Scotland documentary on Sunday, 11 November at 10.00 am.

And prior to the transmission, Ricky and BBC Scotland are making the sheet music available to any choirs who would like to sing the ballad in their own services or concerts of commemoration.

The radio documentary, which will include a performance of the ballad by the National Youth Choir of Scotland is part of the BBC’s commemorative season across radio, television and online.

In response to the massive sense of loss and the tragic fact that thousands of bodies lay unidentified during World War One, the Unknown Warrior became the subject of tributes, graves and memorials across Europe.

Ricky said: ‘It was very moving to discover the stories of these soldiers who were said to be ‘known unto God’ and also to hear from the families who mourned them.

‘The result of this journey is a ballad which I hope reflects some of the emotional power that this iconic symbol still has for the many people who have lost loved ones in conflicts.’

The sheet music for the ballad, arranged in four parts by arranger David Higham, is attached.

BBC Scotland radio presenter Stephen Jardine also undertakes an emotional journey in another documentary in which he traces his maternal and paternal grandfathers’ remarkable World War One stories.

In Grandfather’s War on Radio Scotland Stephen tracks the fate of both his maternal and paternal grandfathers.  Thomas Rae Jardine was saved by pioneering surgery after sustaining a serious head injury on the front line and emigrated to Canada before returning to Scotland; while Archibald Love Martin suffered from shell shock dying just before the 2nd World War.

In a BBC Radio Scotland Time Travels special, Susan Morrison follows up on listener Kevin Dunion’s quest to discover more about the one woman whose name appears on the war memorial in his local town of Anstruther.  Elizabeth ‘Johnnie’ Johnston volunteered for the Women’s Army Auxilliary Corps.  His detective work uncovers a story full of love and tragedy across oceans – from Fife to France and ultimately Canada.

And Edi Stark interviews World War One historian, Sir Hew Strachan in a special edition of Stark Talk.

On television BBC Two Scotland is showing 100 Days to Victory, a two-part drama documentary telling the epic story of the Allies’ finest hour – and the invention of modern warfare.

The first episode takes early 1918 as its starting point – at a moment of maximum jeopardy for the Allies.

In the famous words of Field Marshal Haig, they had their “backs to the wall” as a German attack swept westward in a final bid to win the bloodiest war of all. Standing in the German army’s path are British, Australian, Canadian and French forces, while the Americans are still arriving to join the fight.

The onslaught triggers a leadership crisis: Field Marshal Haig and Marshal Foch ask Australia’s General Monash and Canada’s General Currie to perfect a new way of waging war – one that will deliver ultimate victory.

The second episode follows events after the Allies defeated the Germans at Amiens. They need to find a way to break through the Hindenburg Line, the last line of defence of the German Army, and the most formidable defensive network in military history.

From the visceral experience of those serving on the battlefield to the crucial decision making of the generals, this drama documentary series vividly tells the story of the Allies’ multinational feat of arms.

The first episode has aired and is available on iPlayer and episode two will be shown on Tuesday October 30 at 9.00 pm on BBC Two Scotland and at 8.00 pm on BBC Two on Thursday 1 November.

It is an international co-production involving BBC Scotland, Foxtel Australia and The History Channel in Canada and is produced by Electric Pictures.

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Contact: Jim Gough