British Pathé footage from 1945 shows a young Derry boy singing his heart out for a Canadian soldier.
The reel, which is titled ‘Letter from Britain/Canadian Soldiers - 1945 British Council Film Collection,’ looks at the experiences of three Canadian soldiers stationed in England and in the North of Ireland during and after the second World War.
In the film, the young Derry boy sings for a penny for a Canadian soldier called ‘Bill,’ who calls the young boy ‘Paddy’ and says “there always be other Irish Paddys singing for pennies.”
The young boy has been identified as Hugh ‘Fly’ Doherty, and ‘Bill’ is actually real life Lieutenant W.J. O’Connor of the Royal Canadian Navy.
The footage also shows a Canadian Navy vessel sailing up Lough Foyle and past Culmore Point. Before docking in Derry, the vessel stops at Lisahally on the way to pick up an Irish pilot who helps to guide the ship into the port.
Also shown is Boom Hall, where the Canadian and British Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service) lived during the war, and a shot of the Rising Sun Bar, Greysteel, where the narrator of the film says Canadian soldiers would have “spent an evening.” There are also shots of the quay, as well as the Diamond War Memorial, which was erected in 1927.
Visit ‘Letter from Britain/Canadian Soldiers - 1945 British Council Film Collection’ to watch the entire 18-minute long film.