Sunday, 28 December 2014

Forgotten Poets of the First World War

A question which comes up time and again is which poets to include in this commemorative exhibition project?  As far as I am concerned, anyone who wrote poetry during the 1914 - 1919 period is relevant to this project.   However, some people seem to discount anyone who 'did not fight'.  This seems a shame because poetry was written by people who were too old to fight and of course by women (many of whom served in the Armed Forces or as nurses, drivers, etc), school children and conscientious objectors.

Here are just a few of the poets - some of them very famous at the time - who published work during WW1 but who don't seem to receive much coverage these days. Some of those who were too old to serve in the Armed Forces served in other organisations.  See the full list of those I have so far looked at at the top of this weblog under "List of Poets":

The Hon. Herbert Asquith - Royal Field Artlllery - son of Britain's Prime Minister 1908 - 1916
Edmund Charles Blunden, MC - Royal Sussex Regiment
Robert Bridges - Poet Laureate 1913 - 1930
Rupert Brooke - Royal Naval Division
John Buchan - worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau
Gilbert Cannan - pacifist and conscientious objector
Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton - worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau
Geoffrey Dearmer - Royal Army Service Corps
Walter De La Mare
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - served as a doctor during the Boer War
Hugh Reginald ("Rex") Freston - Royal Berkshire Regiment
John Galsworthy
Ford Madox Ford - Welch Regiment
Gilbert Frankau - 9th East Surrey Regiment then Royal Field Artillery from March 1915
Wilfrid Wilson Gibson - Private on the Western Front
E. Leslie Gunston - ? volunteer with the YMCA
Thomas Hardy
James Joyce
Rudyard Kipling - worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau
C.S. Lewis - 3rd Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry
John Masefield - served with the Red Cross in France and on a hospital ship 
Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne - Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Harold Monro - Anti-aircraft Battery Royal Artillery; later War Office
Sir Henry Newbolt - worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau
Alfred Noyes - worked for the Foreign Office
Sir Gilbert Parker - Canadian - worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau
Ezra Pound - American
John Boyston (J.B.) Priestly - served in the Infantry
Cecil Roberts - war correspondent attached in turn to all three services
Charles Elliott Scott-Moncrieff - King's Own Scottish Borderers
J.R.R. Tolkein - 2nd Lieutenant, Lancashire Fusiliers
Geoffrey Winthrop Young - Friends Ambulance Unit
William Butler (W.B.) Yeats

There are of course many more and I hope to bring you information about as many as possible over the coming months.