The Crows Nest Spell is a tribute song by Dr. Chris and Urban Williams. It is a historical tale of the Battle of the Atlantic and the founding of the Crows Nest as a marine Officers’ Club in WW2. It acknowledges Sir Leonard Outerbridge and Captain Mainguy as the founders of the Club “ in the winter of 42.”
It starts as a narrative about the trials that these “ heroes of WW2” faced and explains how the Crows Nest was a respite for these officers under life threatening stress. “ A place of rest and refuge to forget war’s awful grind.” The song also portrays the Club as a strategic venue where officers “ get to know their convoy mates and share knowledge of their craft.”
It also sadly recalls that “ many a man who visited told a joke and had a beer were lost in the North Atlantic, lost to all that they held dear.” Today the Crows Nest is a “ shrine to officers long dead and gone” where we “ raise a toast to those mythical men, up in the Crows Nest.”
The title, Crows Nest Spell , tells of how anyone who visits the Club is truly emotionally moved by it’s history, it’s artifacts, it’s gun shields and ship crests , it’s periscope and the sacred ambiance of the Crows Nest. The Crows Nest is a shrine that still “ sings out the song of sacrifice and courage, the deeds of the very best.” A single visit and you are forever “ under The Crows Nest Spell.”
The Crows Nest Officers’ Club is a National Historic Site of Canada where “ we honor and remember those men their noble quest. Their sacred spirit still lives on up in the Crows Nest.”
The inspiration for this song came when a Memorial University classmate, Dr. Larry Cohen, donated his father’s logbook he kept as a navigator on a Air Force submarine hunter during the war. Lt. Robert Martin Cohen was from Bell Island and flew over 120 missions in Newfoundland and in England. Urban wrote a song called Heroes in Blue and it was played at the ceremony at the Crows Nest where the presentation occurred. After our first visit we were both “ under the Crows Nest Spell. “
Dr. Chris Williams grew up in Bay Bulls and Torbay and recently retired after thirty five years as an emergency physician. He lives in Virginia. Urban lives in Shoe Cove, Newfoundland, and has been a scientist in the offshore oil business for over thirty years. Urban had a studio in his garage where this song and hundreds of others have been recorded. No hits yet but we keep trying.