Radiohead Record Harry Patch Tribute

Ode to last British solder to survive the Western Front

Radiohead premiered their new song – a tribute to Harry Patch, the last British survivor to fight in World War One – this morning on Radio 4.

Singer Thom Yorke was inspired to compose ‘Harry Patch: In Memory Of’ after listening to an interview with the Somerset-born plumber who died last week at the age of 111 and was the last surviving soldier to fight in the trenches of the First World War.

Yorke’s lyrics touch upon Patch’s experiences on the battlefields ("It was an ambush/ They came up from all sides"), the horrors of war ("I’ve seen devils coming up from the ground/ I’ve seen hell upon this earth")and his status as the last remaining soldier from the conflict ("I am the only one that got through/ The others died where ever they fell").

The last line, meanwhile, is directly influenced by an interview Patch gave to the Today programme in 2005: "The next will be chemical but they will never learn".

The track can be downloaded through Radiohead’s official website here for £1, with all proceeds being donated to the Royal British Legion.

Patch will be buried tomorrow at Wells Cathedral.

Photo by Andrew Crowley

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