Saturday, 27 November 2021

Auguste Marius Treilles (? - ?) – French soldier poet

With thanks to Sue Robinson of the Group Wenches in Trenches

for telling us about this poet 

‘Au Fées du Royaumont’ by Sergent Auguste Marius Treilles - Translation by Clare Brock :

The best-tempered steel of deadly weapons,

Is transformed in your hands into humanitarian tears,

And your delicate gentle fingers Miss Nicholson.

Are thrust into the palpitating body without fear,

While in a dream Miss Ivens, Miss Heyworth,

Under the confident spell that your science inspires,

I see you on waking searching for that smile,

Comforting balm on the bleeding wounds

You compassionate women shed uninterrupted.

The poem was written by Auguste Marius Treilles, a Sergeant in the French Army who was treated at the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Royaumont Abbey, France. It praised and was dedicated to the doctors, nurses and staff of the hosopital and was entitled ‘Au Fées du Royaumont’. The poem was published in a special SWH edition of “Common Cause”.-  "Common Cause", VII.344 (12 November 1915), p. 397.

Royaumont Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey, located in France near Asnières-sur-Oise in the Val-d'Oise, approximately 30 km north of Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey housed a voluntary hospital – L’Hôpital Auxiliaire 301 – which was operated by The Scottish Women's Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross.  The hospital was especially noted for its performance treating soldiers involved in the Battle of the Somme. After the war the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Frances Ivens CBE MS(Lond) ChM(Liverp) FRGOG (1870–1944), was awarded membership of the French Légion d'honneur.

"The Common Cause" was a weekly publication, founded in 1909, that supported the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. The first issue was published on 15 April 1909 and the magazine was mainly financed by Margaret Ashton. The final issue was published on Friday, 30 January 1920, in which the successor magazine – “The Woman's Leader” was announced.

"In The Cloister of the Abbaye at Royaumont. Dr. Frances Ivens inspecting a French patient."
painted by Nora Neilson Gray

Norah Neilson Gray (16 June 1882 – 27 May 1931) was a Scottish artist of the Glasgow School. She was a member of The Glasgow Girls whose paintings were exhibited in Kirkcudbright in July and August 2010.  During the First World War, Norah volunteered to serve with the Scottish Women's Hospitals and was sent to France.   She managed to find time to paint and sketch. Nora offered a painting entitled “Hôpital Auxilaire 1918” showing the SWH Hospital in Royaumont Abbey to the Imperial War Museum but the Women's Work Sub-committee of the Museum refused to accept it and requested a painting showing a woman doctor instead.  Thea bove painting was accepted by the IWM in 1920


Wenches in Trenches Facebook page

See note 206

“The Women of Royaumont: Scottish Women's Hospital on the Western Front” by Eileen Crofton (Tuckwell Press, 1997)

“International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices” Editor Constance M. Ruzich (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)

Dr. Connie Ruzich, a former Fulbright Scholar in the UK, is now a University Professor at Robert Morris University, Sewickley, Pennsylvania, United States  of America.  She has edited a fantastic WW1 Anthology entitled “International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices” Editor Constance M. Ruzich (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)  157.50$

Ranging beyond the traditional canon, this ground-breaking anthology casts a  new light on poetic responses to the First World War. Bringing together poems by soldiers and non-combatants, patriots and dissenters, and from all sides of the conflict across the world, "International Poetry of the First World War" reveals the role that poetry played in shaping the responses to and the legacies of that conflict.

Through more than 150 poems, this anthology explores such topics as :

· Life at the Front

· Psychological trauma

· Noncombatants and the home front

· Rationalising the war

· Remembering the dead

· Peace and the aftermath of the war

With contextual notes throughout, the book includes poems written by authors from America, Australia, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, and South Africa.

“The Times Literary Supplement” of Friday 12, November 2021 has Jean Moorcroft Wilson’s review of Coonnie’s anthology:

Connie’s wonderfully, aptly named website Behind their Lines is also worth investigating:

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Ernest Denny (1888-1917) – British schoolteacher and soldier poet

Information about this hitherto unknown WW1 soldier poet has been kindly supplied by Historian Debbie Cameron* 

I am still trying to find poems by Ernest Denny 

Ernest Denny was born on 11th July 1888 in Rillington, Yorkshire, UK. He was the second son of Robert William Denny, a schoolteacher, and his wife, Ellen Hannah Denny, nee Gardner, and his siblings were Charles William Denny, Percy Gardner Denny and John Gardner Denny. By 1901 the family were living in Redditch, Worcestershire, UK, where Ernest’s father was the headmaster of a Wesleyan School. 

In 1911 Ernest became ill and was admitted to a sanatorium in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Ernest was educated at King Edwards School in Birmingham before going on to study at Reading University from 1913-15. On graduating he became a teacher and taught in a school in Suffolk.

During the First World War, Ernest seems to have joined the Artists Rifles as a Private before being commissioned as a Second Lieutent into the London Regiment and serving with the 15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles)  on the Western Front.   

Ernest died of wounds on 4th August 1917 and was buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Vleteren, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium - Grave/memorial reference: II. C. 10.

Ernest Denny is also rememberd on Redditch War Memorial and on a memorial in Redditch Bates Hill Methodist Church, which is now in Redditch Emmanuel Church

The Ancestry website Probate records:  Ernest Denny of 196 Mount Pleasant, Redditch, Second Lieutenant, 2/5th Battalion, London Regiment, attached to the 17th King’s Rifles. 

According to various websites, Ernest had poems published in an anthology entitled “Galleys Laden: Poems by Four Writers - Ernest Denny, Nora O'Sullivan, C. Doyle, and Gwen Upcott” ("Adventurers All" Series, No. XXIII), and a collection of his own poems entitled “Triumphant Laughter: Poems 1914 – 1917” was published in paperback form in 1978 by Brentham Press, London.


* Historian Debbie Cameron is the founder of the Facebook Group Remembering British Women in WW1 – The Home Front and Overseas

Friday, 19 November 2021

Raymond Heywood (? - ?) – WW1 soldier poet

With thanks to Barry Van-Asten for suggesting I research Raymond. If anyone has any further information about Raymond Heywood please get in touch.

In spite of extensive research, I have not been able to find out much about Raymond – other than that he apparently served as a Lieutenant with the 10th (Service) Devonshire Regiment during WW1 and published two collections of his poetry during that time. 

Following Barry’s comment that Raymond “may have served with 10th Service battalion, as he was in Macedonia (Salonika) after France (Neuve Chapelle, Givenchy) and possibly at Ypres (according to poem date/location)”, I contacted the Salonika Campaign Society about Heywood and received this reply: “According to the WW1 war diaries of the Devons, there is one entry relating to 2/Lt Heywood who joined the Battalion and was posted to A Company on Sunday, 1st October 1916.”

I did a little more research and found :

In July 1916, after some months spent on garrison duties, the 10th Devons arrived in the front line near Doiran close to the Bulgarian position at Petit Couronne.  Here in August the Bulgarians attacked but were repulsed by A Company, whose rapid fire inflicted heavy casualties.  By the end of September nearly a third of the 10th had been admitted to hospital suffering from malaria or dysentery.  Nonetheless, the Battalion remained in these positions for several months, patrolling and occasionally skirmishing with their opponents.

“The Devon & Exeter Gazette” carried an advertisement for “Roses, Pearls and Tears” on Saturday, 8th February 1919 

Letters of Eve in The “Tatler” of 17th July 1918 tells us that Raymond donated “… half the proceeds of the sales of “Roses Pearls and Tears” to the poorer women folk-left by the men of his company who have fallen.”  Eve quotes from a letter sent to her by Raymond with a copy of his collection “with the author’s grateful t hanks for happy hourss spent reading “The Letters””:  “You know,  Eve, how splendid these boys were, meeting death with laughter  on their lips and the love of home in their hearts.”

According to Catherine W. Reilly on page 168 of her work “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), Raymond Hewood published two WW1 poetry collections:

'Roses, Pearls and Tears' (Erskine Macdonald, 1918) and

 'The Greater Love: Poems of Remembrance'  (Elkin Mathews,1919).  The Imperial War Museum in London apparently have a copy of this collection, autographed by the author

The “Exeter & Plymouth Gazette” of 31st May 1919 refer to Raymond as a Captain.  However, in a letter written by Raymond Heywood and published in the “Exeter & Plymouth Gazette” of 20 September 1919, he tells us that he was a Lieutenant and gives his address at that time as 10 Buckingham-street, Adelphi, London, WC2 – though that may be the address of the charity.   Raymond says:  “Sir, Under the patronage of Princess Christian, Veterans Day is to be held on the last day of this month.  The object is to create an Imperial memorial scheme to our war heroes.  It is to take the form of a Club house, with 1,000 beds and every convenience for serving and ex-Servicemen, also convalescent homes for those still requiring treatment and after-care. In order to help this scheme, I am publishing a special edition of Remembrance Poems entitled “The Great free for 2s. 6d. net to any address and the  help of your readers will be greatly appreciated.  Yours Truly, RAYMOND HEYWOOD, Lieut. Devonshire Regiment.

Here is one of Raymond's poems:


Peace is here! The bells are ringing

Through this land of ours today,

While a nations’s voice is singing 

From a heart both glad and gay;

Through a miriad streets are blending

Merry shout and hear / cheer

Everywhere is joy unending  . . .

    Peace is here!

Peace is here!  the night of sorrow

Is forgotten with our tears,

There is laughter for tomorrow –

Joy for all these latter years;

Banish thoughts of care and sadness

Cast away each passing fear

There is only room for gladness . . . 

     Peace is here!

Out in Flanders, out in France

Sleeps a nation’s hero dead,

Where the sunbeams softly dance

On each lowly hero bed;

Roses bloom where they are sleeping,

Birds are singing in the air;

Safe are they within God’s keeping . . .

                       Peace sweet peace is there!

Raymond Heywood

But ... 

As his political cartoon demonstrates, Australian soldier poet and artist Will Dyson (1880 – 1938) was not so sure...

Saturday, 6 November 2021

George Reston Malloch (1875-1953) – Poet and writer

With thanks to AC Benus for helping to find this poet for us

George Reston Malloch was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland on 18th November 1875. His parents were John Malloch, a cotton manufacturer, and his wife, Margaret Malloch.  George had the following siblings: Elizabeth Cochran Malloch, b.1868, Donald Mcleod Malloch, b.1870, James Edward Malloch, b. 1872, Jane Esdon Malloch, b.1874 and Charles Bruce Malloch, b. 1879.  The family lived in Glen House, Paisley Abbey, Johnstone & Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland.  Jane Esdon Malloch also became a writer.

In 1900, George married Ethel Josephine Oliver and the couple lived in Essex.  In the 1901 Census George and Ethel were at the home of journalist Henry N. Brailsford in London, who by then was married to George's sister Jane Esdon Malloch. 

During the First World War, George worked in the Casualty Department at the Admiralty.

Ethel J. V. Malloch died in June 1926 and George married Amy C. Felton the following year.  The 1939 Census shows them living in Suffolk Road, Barnes, Barnes, Surrey.  George died in 1953. 

The WW1 poetry collections of George Reston Malloch were: 

"Poems" (Heinemann, 1920)

"Poems and Lyrics" (Heinemann, 1916)

"Poems and Lyrics" (Dutton, New York, 1917)

Here is one of George's poems:

“The Reason Why”

"Youth Mourning" by George Clausen
(1852 - 1944)

They ask me why

I write few poems of war

I will tell them why.

Because I have seen the tears

Of mothers and new-made widows

Because the message I sent

Has told the defeat of life.

Because the words I have written

Have been the herald of death.

Because I have seen the faces

Of women change and shrivel

At the thing I told them.

Because to the telephone summoned,

I have heard far-off foices

Ask, “Is my husband saved?”

And have answered “No.”.

From “Poems & Lyrics” (E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1917), p xi

Christopher Murray Grieve (11 August 1892 – 9 September 1978), best known by his pen name Hugh MacDiarmid, wrote this poem to George:

“The Sauchs in the Reuch Heuch Hauch”BY HUGH MACDIARMID

(For George Reston Malloch)

There’s teuch sauchs growin’ i’ the Reuch Heuch Hauch.   

Like the sauls o’ the damned are they,

And ilk ane yoked in a whirligig

Is birlin’ the lee-lang day.

O we come doon frae oor stormiest moods,

And Licht like a bird i’ the haun’,

But the teuch sauchs there i’ the Reuch Heuch Hauch   

As the deil’s ain hert are thrawn.

The winds ’ud pu’ them up by the roots,

Tho’ it broke the warl’ asunder,

But they rin richt doon thro’ the boddom o’ Hell,   

And nane kens hoo fer under!

There’s no’ a licht that the Heavens let loose   

Can calm them a hanlawhile,

Nor frae their ancient amplefeyst

Sall God’s ain sel’ them wile.

Hugh MacDiarmid, “The Sauchs in the Reuch Heuch Hauch” from Selected Poetry. Copyright © 1992 by Alan Riach and Michael Grieve. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Complete Poems (Grove/Atlantic Inc., 1993)

Additional Sources: Find my Past,

Catherine W. Reilly, “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978, p. 216

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878 – 1962) – British WW1 soldier poet and writer

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson was born in Hexham, Northumberland, UK on 2nd October 1878.  His parents were John Pattison Gibson, a chemist, and his wife, Judith Frances Gibson, nee Walton (1836 - 1902), who were married in September 1861. Wilfried had the following siblings: Frances, b. 1864, Clara, b. 1866, Elizabeth, b. 1869, John, b. 1872, Constance, b. 1873, Anna, b. 1874, Mary, b. 1876, and Muriel, b. 1880.  Elizabeth Gibson also became a poet, later adding her married name of Cheyne. 

In 1912, he left Hexham for London, where he met Rupert Brooke, Edward Marsh and other literary people of that era.  Wilfrid was one of the poets who took advantage of the rooms for rent for poets above Harold Monro’s Poetry Bookshop in London. There he met Harold Monro’s secretary - Geraldine Townshend.   In 1913, Wilfrid and Geraldine were married.  They went to live in Gloucestershire, where Wilfrid was was one of the founders of the Dymock poets. That was a community of writers who settled, shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, in the village of Dymock, in north Gloucestershire.

Wilfrid's p oem to Rupert Brooke

When war broke out, Wilfrid volunteered to join the army but was rejected four times until being accepted as a Private in the Army Service Corps Motor Transport in October 1917, later becoming a medical officer’s clerk in south London. After Rupert Brooke’s death, Wilfrid became one of Brooke's literary executors, along with the poets Lascelles Abercrombie and Walter de la Mare. 

Wilfrid’s poetry collections were: “Thoroughfares” (Elkin Mathews, London, 1914);  “Battle (Elkin Mathews, London, 1915 - reprinted with an introduction by Kelsey Thomton, 1999); “Collected Poems 1905 – 1925 (Macmillan, London, 1926);  “Friends” (Elkin Mathews, London, 1916);  “Livelihood: dramatic reveries” (Macmillan, London, 1917);  “Home” (P. Beaumont, 1920);   “Neighbours” – written in memory of friends killed in the war (Macmillan, London 1920); Twenty-three selected poems (Athenaeum Literature Department, 1919); Sixty-three poems. Selected for use in schools and colleges by E.A. Parker, with a critical intro. (Macmilland, London, 1926).

Wilfrid also had poems included in thirty-two WW1 poetry anthologies. 


I should like to refer you to the wonderful website created by Judy Greenaway, Wilfrid’s Grand-daughter, and trustee of his literary estate

Other sources:  Find my Past

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 139.

NOTE: I have included Wilfrid’s sister Elizabeth in the Female Poets of The First World War section of my project, where you willl find my post about her:

Friday, 29 October 2021

Frank Bernard Camp (1882 - ?) – American WW1 soldier poet

I recently found a remembrance poem for WW1 on Facebook and trying to find out who wrote it, I came across information about Frank Bernard Camp.  With the kind help of author Chris Dubbs, and having scoured the Internet, I have been able to piece together a little about Frank Camp.   I am trying to find out more about Frank - if anyone can help please get in touch. 

It seems that Frank was born in 1882.  According to a report in “Trench and Camp” (Deming, New Mexico) of 30th October 1917, Frank may possibly have come from from Douglas, Arizona and he must have  joined the army because he served with the “2nd Montana Infantry on the Mexican Border.”   Referring to the First World War, the report continues “When war was declared, he applied for admittance to the Officers’ Training Camp but, owing to loss of weight and a bad right leg, he was turned down by the examining physicians”.  

As a result of that rejection, Frank “… decided to make what he calls his enthusiasm-arousing campaign” embarking on a 35-week tour of all the “army camps and contonments in the United States, gathering data for a collection of new soldier ballads pertinent to the life of the American soldier.”  “At each camp he visits, he secures permission from the Commanding Officer to read  his collection of ballads about the life of the American soldier.”

“Trench and Camp” newspaper was published weekly by the National War Work Council of the YMCA, in partnership with various city newspapers, for soldiers during The First World War. The paper was printed in different editions for each of the thirty-two cantonments, with about half the material supplied from a central editorial office in New York, and half by local reporters. 

Its purpose was “to print the news, to inform, to stimulate, and to help relieve the tedium and monotony of camp life” for soldiers, as well as “to be a graphic account of the life of our soldiers, whether they be drilling or fighting, at home or ‘over there’ for civilians. Contributions from soldiers include descriptions of the entertainments at the camps, athletic contests, educational lectures, jokes, and poetry, as well as personal columns telling of their experiences. The papers also sponsored cartoon contests, resulting in many good pictures portraying camp life. In addition, each Trench and Camp was a channel of communication to the troops from the President, Congress, and War Department.

Described as a “soldier poet” in an article in the “Anniston Star” newspaper of 24th June 1919, after the war, Frank apparently joined the United States Forestry and “made his base at the Coram Ranger Station, eighty miles from the nearest railroad line.”   Frank obviously had time to write as his book “Alaska Nuggets” was published in 1922.  He also published “Alaska Tales For The Cheechako” but I’m not certain when that was published. 

NOTE; A Cheechako is someone new to Alaska, ignorant in the ways of the Last Frontier and lacking the skills required to survive the Alaskan wilderness.

Page 4 of the “Cordova Daily Times” of 7 December 1921 has an article under the heading “Clever Poems by Local Author”, so it seems that by then Frank may have been living in Cordova, Tennessee.

Historical information taken from the collection and from "Thirty-two Camps Have Newspaper in Common," New York Times, 6 Jan 1918.

The poem that led me to the discovery of Camp was apparently inspired by  “Our Hitch in Hell” by Frank Bernard Camp, which “became so popular so quickly that between 1917 and 1921 many people started plagiarizing it.”

"Our Hitch in Hell" is a ballad by American poet Frank Bernard Camp, originally published as one of 49 ballads in a collection entitled "American Soldier Ballads", that went on to inspire multiple variants among American law enforcement and military, either as The Final Inspection, the Soldier's Prayer, the Policeman's Prayer, etc.

As far as I have been able to ascertain, Frank Bernard Camp’s poetry collections were:

“Mexican Border Ballads” (Douglas, Arizona, 1916) Poetry written while guarding the Mexican border and about the soldiers who guard the border.

“American Soldier Ballads” (Geo. Rice & Sonbs, Los Angeles, 1917)

“Rhymes in Khaki” (The Cornhill Company, Boston, 1918).


The musings of a soldier revised and set down in verse 

EVERY day and night I'm thinking of the things I left behind, 

Yet I loath to put on paper what is running through my mind, 

But I think I'll feel much better, so I guess I'll take a chance, 

Ere the regiment is ordered to the shores of sunny France. 

We've dug a million trenches and have cleared ten miles of ground, 

And a meaner place this side of Hell, I know has ne'er been found, 

We've drilled in dust and scorching sun, in mud and driving rain, 

'Till our eyes and ears and legs and arms were yelling loud with pain. 

But there's still one consolation, gather closely while I tell, 

When we die we're bound for Heaven, 'cause we've done our hitch in Hell. 

We've built a thousand mess halls for the cooks to stew our beans, 

We've stood a hundred guard mounts, and cleaned the camp latrines, 

We've washed a million mess kits, and peeled a million spuds, 

We've rolled a million blanket rolls and washed a million duds, 

The number of parades we've made is awfully hard to tell, 

But we'll not parade in Heaven, for we paraded here in Hell. 

We've passed a million sleepless hours upon our army cots, 

And shook a hundred centipedes from out our army socks, 

We've marched a hundred thousand miles and made a thousand camps, 

And pulled a million cacti thorns from out our army pants, 

So when our work on earth is done, our friends behind will tell, 

" When they died they went to Heaven, 'cause they did their hitch in Hell." 

The slum and coffee we have cussed, likewise the Willie canned, 

We've damned the gentle gusts of wind that filled the air with sand, 

We've taken the injections, ten million germs or more, 

And the vaccine scratched upon our arms has made them very sore, 

With all these things to get our goats, we all are here to tell, 

When the order comes to cross the pond we'll give the Germans Hell. 

When the final taps is sounded and we lay aside life's cares, 

And we do the last and gloried parade, on Heaven's shining stairs, 

And the angels bid us welcome and the harps begin to play 

We can draw a million canteen checks and spend them in a day, 

It is then we'll hear St. Peter tell us loudly with a yell, 

"Take a front seat you soldier men, you've done your hitch in Hell." 

by Frank B. Camp in “American Soldier Ballads” pp. 20 and 21 


“Trench and Camp” (Deming, New Mexico) of 30th October 1917 – downloaded by Chris Dubbs on 27 October 2021 

“Cordova Daily Times” 7 December 1921 under the heading “Clever Poems by Local Author” – Cordova, Tennessee

“American Soldier Ballads” (Los Angeles, G. Rice & sons, 1917) is  available to read as a free download from Archive: