Friday, 13 September 2019

J.B.Priestley (1894 - 1984) - British Poet, Writer, Artist, Dramatist & Critic

Featured in the commemorative exhibition of Somme Poets held in 2016, John Boynton Priestley was born on 13th September 1894 in Manningham, Bradford, Yorkshire, UK. His father was a schoolmaster. John’s mother died when he was young and his father re-married.

John worked as a clerk after leaving Belle Vue Grammar School but his ambition was to become a writer.

In September 1914, John joined the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment with the rank of Lance-Corporal.  Posted to the Western Front in August 1915, he was wounded during The Somme Offensive in June 1916, when he was buried alive by a Trench Mortar. He was sent back to Britain to recover.

After a long period in various hospitals, John recovered, was commissioned into the Devonshire Regiment and posted to the Western Front again in the summer of 1918. He was gassed but recovered sufficiently to supervise Prisoners of War.

After the war, John went to study at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University and a long and interesting literary career followed. John died on 14th August 1984.

J.B. Priestley’s WW1 poetry collection “The chapman of rhymes (poems)” was published in 1918 by Moring.

Sources:  Find my Past, Wikipedia and Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 258.
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