Saturday, 28 October 2017

Poets of 1917: John Arnold Nicklin (1871 – 1917) – British

John Arnold Nicklin was born in Llanfair Caerncinion in Montgomeryshire, Wales, UK in 1871.  His parents were Thomas Nicklin, a farmer from Glamorgan, Wales and his wife Hannah Nicklin, nee Fenn, from Shropshire.  John had the following siblings:  Thomas, b. 1869 and Hannah Constance, b. 1870.  The children’s father died on 8th September 1873. 

Educated at Shrewsbury School before going up to St. John’s College, Cambridge to study Classics, John became a teacher and was Assistant Master at Liverpool College from 1896 – 1901 when the family lived in Toxteth on Merseyside.  He wrote for “The Daily Chronicle” and “The Tribune” newspapers.

In 1903, John married Maria Louisa Petrie in London and they went to live in Lambeth, where John died on 16th April 1917.

John’s WW1 collection “And they went to the war: poems” was published by Sidgwick & Jackson, London in October 1914.


Michael Copp “Cambridge Poets of the Great War: An Anthology” (Associated University Presses, London, 2001)

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliograph” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978)

Find my Past and Free BMD websites.
From “Whitechapel” by John Arnold Nicklin (describing a volunteer)

A white and wolfish face, with fangs
Half-snarling out of flaccid lips:
Ann unkempt head that loosely hangs;
Shoulders that cower from gaoler’s grips;

Eyes furtive in their greedy glance;
Slim fingers not untaught to thieve; -
He shambles forward to the chance
His whole life’s squalor to retrieve. 

From Nicklin's WW1 collection.