Monday, 29 August 2016

George Upton Robins (1878 – 1915) – British

George Upton Robins was born in Wheathampstead, St. Albans, Hertfordshire in 1878.  His parents were Geroge Upton Robins, a Justice of the Peace, and his wife Emma Flora, nee Sheppard.   Young George’s siblings were Flora, Mary S. and Elsie I.

In 1905 George married Beryl Stevens at St. George’s Church in Hannover Square, London.  The couple lived in Windsor.

George joined the 3rd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment.  At the time of his death on 5th May 1915, he was a Captain and was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment.  He is buried in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm) in West Flanders, Belgium.

One of George Upton Robins’ poems was included in “The Muse in Arms” WW1 Anthology, edited by Edward Bolland and published by Murray, London in 1917.   His poetry collection “Lays of the Hertfordshire Hunt” was published by A.L. Humphreys, London in 1912.  
Source:  "The Muse in Arms", Free BMD, Find my Past and Wikisource.  And with special thanks to Neil Thornton of Thornton Military Prints for finding out where George is buried.   Neil has just had his book about the Boer War - "Rorkes Drift A New Perspective" published - 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

David Geoffrey Collins (1899 - 1918) - British poet, botanist, mathematician, peace lover

Stanley Kaye has just sent me details of another forgotten poet of the First World War.

David Collins was born in London on 9th August 1899.   His parents were Edwin Hyman Simeon Collins, an author and schoolmaster and his wife Ada Eleanor Collins, nee Stanford, a musician and music teacher.   David's siblings were Ivan J. (b. 1894), Edward Guthrie (b.1897), Josef S. (b. 1898), Herman L. (b. 1903), Dorothy R. (b. 1904), Robert B. (b. 1907) and Kathleen M. (b. 1908).  In 1901 the family lived in Ramsgate in Kent and in 1911 they lived in Middlewich in Cheshire.  At the time of David's death, they lived in Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey.

When war broke out, David initially joined the 1st London Regiment, enlisting in Kingston, Surrey.  He transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards as a Guardsman and died of wounds sustained in France on 11th October 1918.  David Geoffrey Collins was buried in Delsaux Farm Cemetery, 62124 Beugny, Pas de Calais, France.

Sources:  Find my Past and Free BMD

If anyone has a photograph or any of Davis's poems please get in touch.  Many thanks to Stanley Kaye for finding another forgotten poet of The First World War.   I have added David's name to the list of Cemeteries where poets are buried.

Francis Kennard Bliss (1892 - 1916) - British poet, painter and musician

Francis Kennard Bliss was born in 1892 in Richmond, Surrey, UK.   His parents were Francis Edward Bliss, a petroleum merchant from New York, USA and his wife Agnes K. Bliss, nee Davis from Rochester, Kent, UK.  Francis's siblings were Arthur (b. 1891) and James Howard (b. 1894).  The boys' mother, Agnes died in 1895 and the children were brought up by their father, from whom they inherited a love of the arts.  The family lived in Holland Park, London.

Educated at Bilton Grange Preparatory School and Rugby School, Francis won a Classics Scholarship and went on to study at King's College, Cambridge where he joined the debating group known as The Apostles.   He was a gifted clarinet player.   According to the Director of External Relations at Bilton Grange School, "...Arthur always said that Francis was the most talented of the three brothers."

When war broke out, Francis initially joined the Artists' Rifles as a Private but was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery on 9th July 1915 and posted to the Western Front in November 1915.

At the time of his death on 28th September 1916 during The Somme Offensive near Thiepval, Francis was an Acting Forward Artillery Observation Officer.  He is buried in Aveluy Wood (Lancashire Dump) Cemetery, 80300 Mesnil-Martinsart, France.  

Francis's brother Arthur, who joined the Army and  also served on The Somme during WW1,  went on to become famous and was knighted for his services as a composer.  Arthur wrote a piece of music in memory of his brother Francis, dedicating it to all who were killed in the same battle.  "Morning Heroes A Symphony for my brother and comrades killed in the war" was written as a Symphony for Orator, Chorus and Orchestra in 1930.

I have not yet been able to find any poetry written by Francis but I am hoping to put that right soon.

Find my Past
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Tim Cross - "The Lost Voices of World War 1: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets and Playwrights", Bloomsbury Publishing Co. Ltd.,  London, 1989
S.E. Rosenbaum - "Aspects of Bloomsbury Studies in Modern English Literacy and Intellectual History", Macmillan Press Ltd., Basingstoke, 1998
W.C. Lubenow - "The Cambridge Apostles 1820 - 1914 Liberalism, Imagination and Friendship", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998
Letter from Bilgton Grange Preparatory School 26th August 2016

 My thanks to Michael Copp who has written some fantastic books about First World War poets. Michael advised me to have a look at Tim Cross's anthology.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Walter Scott Stuart Lyon (1886 – 1915) - Poet

Walter was born on 1st October 1886, one of five sons born to Walter Fitzgerald K. Lyon and his wife Isabella R. Lyon, nee Haddeth.   The family lived at Tantallon Lodge, North Berwick.

After attending Haileybury School in Great Amwell, Ware, Hertfordshire, Walter obtained his BA in Classics from Oxford and went to Edinburgh University where he studied law from 1909 till 1912.  He had joined the cadet corps in 1902 while at Oxford and became a Lieutenant in February 1913.   By 1914, Walter was a Staff Captain and he joined the 9th Royal Scots Regiment of the Lothic Brigade.  He was posted to France in 1915 and was killed on 8th May 1915 at Ypres.  He was 28 years old and was, according to Alastair Shepherd, the first Scottish Advocate to be killed during the First World War.   
Walter is commemorated as “One of the War Poets” on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, on Panel 11.

Walter’s WW1 poetry collection “Easter at Ypres, 1915, and other poems” was published by Maclehose, Glasgow in 1916.

Two of Walter's brothers were killed in WW1 and another died while at school.

With thanks to Yvon Davis for spotting Alastair Shepherd’s research in “The Scotsman” into Scottish Advocates of the First World War

Sources: Page 206 of Catherine W. Reilly “English Poets of the First World War A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), Find my Past, Free BMD, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and Stephen Glenn's website