Bury Me Down at Cape Kanin (traditional)
Have you heard of the story of Iceland
Where most of the fishing was done?
’Twas there that a poor little deckie Was shot by an old Jerry gun.
As he lay with his head on his elbow
His blood made the trawler decks red,
And he raised up his eyes to the skipper
And these are the words that he said:
Chorus: “Bury me down at Cape Kanin Under the midnight sun,
Bury me down at Cape Kanin, Me duty to Kingston’s is done.”
He wasn’t a lad for the women,
In true love could never be found,
Well, he wasn’t a lad for the women,
They laughed at him when he was down.
Now had she kept to her promise
He might have been raising a son,
Instead he is up at Cape Kanin,
Under the cold midnight sun.
So, me lads, when you’re back home in Rayner’s
And you’re drinking your whiskey and rum,
Think of that poor little deckie
Who was shot by an old Jerry gun.
So they buried him down at Cape Kanin,
The mollies look down on his grave,
They buried him down at Cape Kanin,
His young life to Kingston’s he gave.
The original song this and other similar pieces are based on is Bury me out on the Prairie seemingly written in 1927 by Travis Hale. I have a published copy in the Hill-billy Album No. 1 of 1934. The cowboy song was recorded by the likes of Gene Autrey and during World War II was parodied by British soldiers in Libya. I have a version of this recorded in Goole that uses the original tune, but all of the other World War II versions I have seen have been adapted to the tune we use here Red River Valley. The trawlerman version we sing here must also date back to World War II when trawlers were commissioned as minesweepers and carried deck guns.
The 3 verses and chorus were found painted on the walls in Lord Line dock offices at the eastern end of what once was St Andrew’s Dock, Fish dock. We have added a couple of verses about the deckie’s problems with women, from the Goole Libya version which are also in the original. Cape Kanin is around the North Cape of Norway on the north coast of Russia in the Arctic Sea frequented by British trawlers. There was also a steam trawler named Cape Kanin. Kingston’s is a trawler company who owned among many others Kingston Peridot, one of the trawlers that went down in the triple trawler disaster. Of course there is no surprise at finding a country song like this being utilised by trawlermen: Country and Western was by far the most beloved genre of trawlermen from the 20s right upto the decline of the fishing industry.