‘Sail Away’ – the Stanley Camp Anthem

Barbara Anslow’s diary for July 25, 1942 records:

 Grand concert on Bowling Green.   Good new song – ‘We’re going to sail away, sail away etc.

It’s no accident that the song appeared just then: the American internees were repatriated on June 29/30, and the British were dreaming of following them. Lourenço Marques in Mozambique was neutral territory where they would switch from a Japanese to a western (in the case of the Americans Swedish) ship to take them home.

‘Sail Away’ quickly became the Camp anthem, a popular choice to end concerts. I think it was written by the Reverend Cyril Brown. Some accounts refer to Betty Drown as providing vigorous piano accompaniment, while others credit her with the composition (e.g. Alan Birch and Martin Cole, Captive Years, 1982, 48).

Sail Away

 We’ve seen your Stanley’s sights these many days & nights,

For England home & beauty how we pine!

We’re fed up now with roaming through graveyards in the gloaming,

But soon we’re going to leave it all, & we’ll gladly say, ‘Goodbye’.

We’re going to sail away, sail away

We hope internment here will end some day.

We want to go, tho’ we’ve got no dough

Yet we’re yearning to see the land that we love so.

We’re going to sail away, sail away,

And that and when this Camp embarks

There’ll be happy hearts and free

When we’re putting out to sea,

Afloat on a boat on the way to Lourenço Marques.

We’re ready for the trip, we can quickly pack our grip,

Our luggage is quite light & somewhat small,

We’ve lost our goods & houses, & we’ve lots of other grouses,

But still we’ve got our health & strength, so we haven’t lost our all.

We’re going to sail away etc.

Though we’re anxious soon to start, ‘twill be rather hard to part

With friends we’ll leave behind in loved Hong Kong.

But one day they’ll be learning they can look for our returning,

Who knows? Perhaps the time of waiting really won’t be long.

We’re going to sail away etc.

This number ends our show, but just before you go,

We’d like to day ‘Good Night’ & so to bed,

And if you’re feeling weary or just a little dreary

Remember there are sure to be some brighter days ahead.

We’re going to sail away etc.

 If you liked our last refrain

We’ll sing the song again,

Afloat on a boat on the way to Lourenço Marques.

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