Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Thomas Carnduff (1886 - 1956) - Irish Poet

Known as "The Shipyard Poet", Irish WW1 poet Thomas Carnduff (1886 – 1956) was born in Belfast on 30th January 1886.  In WW1 Thomas joined the Young Citizens’ Volunteers and then the Royal Engineers. He was posted to the Western Front where he took part in the Battles of Messines and Ypres.

Thomas was featured in the exhibition of Poets, Writers, Artists & Nurses, Arras, Messines, Passchendale & More, 1917 which was held at the Award-winning Wilfred Owen Story in Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK, CH41 6AE in 2017.   The WOS is open from Tuesday – Friday 12noon – 2 pm and entry is free.

The latest exhibition on display at the WOS is entitled "Aftermath & Legacy of WW1".

Panels from previous exhibitions are available to view on file at the WOS. 

Monday, 28 January 2019

James Joyce (1882 - 1941) - Irish writer and poet

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce  was born in Dublin on 2nd February 1882.  He was educated at a school run by the Christian Brothers and then attended the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere. He then studied at University College Dublin.

James, who was a pacifist, spent the First World War in Switzerland, where he wrote this poem which was inspired by ‘Mr. Martin J. Dooley’, a satirical literary personage invented by the American journalist, Chicago-born Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936). 


Who is the man when all the gallant nations run to war
Goes home to have his dinner by the very first cablecar
And as he eats his cantelope contorts himself in mirth
To read the blatant bulletins of the rulers of the earth?
It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The coolest chap our country ever knew
‘They are out to collar
The dime and dollar’
Says Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.
Who is the funny fellow who declines to go to church
Since pope and priest and parson left the poor man in the lurch
And taught their flocks the only way to save all human souls
Was piercing human bodies through with dumdum bulletholes?
It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The mildest man our country ever knew
‘Who will release us
From jingo Jesus’
Prays Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.
Who is the meek philosopher who doesn’t care a damn
About the yellow peril or problem of Siam
And disbelieves that British Tar is water from life’s fount
And will not gulp the gospel of the German on the Mount?
It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The broadest brain our country ever knew
‘The curse of Moses
On both your houses’
Cries Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.
Who is the cheerful imbecile who lights his long chibouk
With pages of the pandect, penal code and Doomsday Book
And wonders why bald justices are bound by law to wear
A toga and a wig made out of someone else’s hair?
It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The finest fool our country ever knew
‘They took that toilette
From Pontius Pilate’
Thinks Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.
Who is the man who says he’ll go the whole and perfect hog
Before he pays the income tax or license for a dog
And when he licks a postage stamp regards with smiling scorn
The face of king or emperor or snout of unicorn?
It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The wildest wag our country ever knew
‘O my poor tummy
His backside gummy!’
Moans Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.
Who is the tranquil gentleman who won’t salute the State
Or serve Nebuchadnezzar or proletariat
But thinks that every son of man has quite enough to do
To paddle down the stream of life his personal canoe?
It’s Mr Dooley,
Mr Dooley,
The wisest wight our country ever knew
‘Poor Europe ambles
Like sheep to shambles’
Sighs Mr Dooley-ooley-ooley-oo.

James Joyce, 1916.

James Joyce died on 13th January 1941.

Source:  Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) p.183.  According to Reilly, James Joyce’s “Critical Writings” edited by Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellman and published by Faber & Faber in 1959, included the poem “Dooleysprudence”, written in 1916 when James Joyce was in Switzerland ‘offensively neutral’.  The poem reflects his pacifist irritation with both sides in the war.  This poem was not included in his “Collected Poems” published in 1936.

Photograph of James Joyce in 1918 - photographer unknown.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Gilbert Waterhouse (1883 - 1916) - British WW1 soldier poet

Gilbert Waterhouse in Uniform
Photographer unknown)

WW1 soldier poet Gilbert Waterhouse was born on 22nd January 1883 in Chatham, Kent, UK. He joined the Army in WW1 and was commissioned as an officer in May 1915, when he was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Essex Regiment.
Gilbert was admitted to hospital in February 1916 suffering from a septic arm. I imagine that is when he wrote the poem "The Casualty Clearing Station".

Gilbert was killed on the Western Front on the first day of the Somme Offensive - 1st July 1916 - and was buried in Serre Road 2 Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France.

Gilbert's WW1 poetry collection was "Rail-head and other Poems" (Erskine Macdonald, London 1916). His poems were included in 7 WW1 poetry anthologies and Gilbert had a poem published in "The English Review" in October 1915.. ("The English Review" was a literary magazine published in London from 1908 to 1937).

“The Casualty Clearing Station” A BOWL of daffodils, A crimson-quilted bed, Sheets and pillows white as snow White and gold and red And sisters moving to and fro, With soft and silent tread. So all my spirit fills With pleasure infinite, And all the feathered wings of rest Seem flocking from the radiant West To bear me thro' the night. See, how they close me in, They, and the sisters' arms, One eye is closed, the other lid Is watching how my spirit slid Toward some red-roofed farms, And having crept beneath them, slept Secure from war's alarms.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Richard Le Gallienne (1866 – 1947) – British writer and poet

Richard was born Richard Thomas Gallienne in West Derby, Liverpool, UK on 20th January 1866. Educated at Liverpool College, he went to work as a clerk when he left school.  Richard was inspired to become a poet and to change his name when his father took him to a lecture given in Oxton, Birkenhead by Oscar Wilde.

Richard's first poetry collection - “My Ladies' Sonnets” -  was printed privately in 1887, and in 1889 Richard worked  briefly as literary secretary to British actor/playwright Wilson Barrett. In the summer of 1888, Richard met Oscar Wilde.  In 1891, Richard began work as a journalist for “The Star” newspaper.  He also contributed to “The Yellow Book”, a British magazine edited by Elkin Matthews and John Lane and published quarterly by The Bodley Head, London from 1894 to 1897.

Richard’s first wife, Mildred Lee, died in childbirth in 1894, along with their second daughter, Maria, leaving Richard to bring up their daughter Hesper. Rupert Brooke and Richard Le Gallienne met in 1913 on a ship bound for the United States of America.

In 1897 Richard married the Danish journalist Julie Nørregaard. Julie became stepmother to Hesper.  Richard and Julie's daughter, Eva, was born in 1899.

In 1903, Julie left Richard, taking both of his daughters, and went to live in Paris. She later sent Hesper to live with her paternal grandparents in London, while Eva remained with her mother. Julie later cited Richard's inability to provide a stable home, pay his debts, his alcoholism and womanising as grounds for divorce and the couple were divorced in June 1911.

Richard moved to the United States and married Irma Perry, nee Hinton, in October 1911. Irma's daughter Gwendolyn Perry subsequently called herself Gwen Le Gallienne.  Richard, Irma and Gwen went to live in France and later Richard and Irma retired to |Menton in the South of France.  During the Second World War, Richard and Irma went to live in Monaco, as their house was requisitioned by the Germans and Richard refused to write propaganda leaflets for the Nazis.

Richard died on 15th September 1947 and  was buried in Menton.

Richard’s WW1 poetry collections were “The Silk Hat Soldier and Other Poems in War-time” (John Lane, London, 1915) and “War”, which was published to commemorate Armistice Day in 1929, (Woolly Whale, New York, 1929). He also had poems included in five WW1 poetry anthologies.  Source:  Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) p.p. 197 - 198.

In 2016 an exhibition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Richard Le Gallienne’s birth, highlighting the life and works of Richard Le Gallienne was held at the Central Library in his home city of Liverpool, UK. Entitled "Richard Le Gallienne: Liverpool's Wild(e) Poet", it featured his affair with Oscar Wilde, his famous actress daughter Eva Le Gallienne and his personal ties to the city. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Margaret Stetz of Delaware University, ran for 6 weeks between August and October 2016 and a talk about him was held at the Victorian Literary Symposium during Liverpool's Literary festival the same year.

Richard was also featured in an exhibition of Merseyside Poets of WW1 held at the Award-winning Wilfred Owen Story in Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK.  There is a book of that exhibition:

The photograph of Richard Le Gallienne is by photographer Alfred Ellis (1854 - 1930)

From "The Illusion of War" by Richard le Gallienne from "The Silk Hat Soldier - And Other Poems in Wartime"

I abhor,
And yet how sweet
The sound along the marching street
Of drum and fife, and I forget
Wet eyes of widows, and forget
Broken old mothers, and the whole
Dark butchery without a soul.

Friday, 18 January 2019

James Lyons (1896 - 1918) - British Soldier Poet

The poet Robert Cochrane, a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University, has written a fantastic book about James Lyons which I urge you to read.  Robert has extensively researched James Lyons and reprinted some of his poems in a book entitled "Do you Remember - the selected poems of James Lyons", published by The Bad Press, Manchester in 2018.

James is featured in Catherine W. Reilly's "English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography" but the only details Reilly gives are that James was a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps and that his WW1 poetry collections were "Sons of the Empire, and other poems" (Heywood, Manchester, 1916) and "Gleam o' pearls (poems)" (Cornish, Mancheter 1919).

Robert Cochrane has also produced a CD of some of the poems written by James Lyons set to music.

For further information, please contact The Bad Press, PO Box 76, Manchester M21 8HJ or via their website  or via Facebook

A.A. Milne (1882 – 1956) – British writer and poet

Alan Alexander Milne was born on 18th January 1882 in Kilburn, London.  His father was John Vine Milne, a public schoolmaster, and his mother Sarah Marie Milne, nee Heginbotham.  Alan had two brothers – David B. and Kenneth John.   Alan married Dorothy “Daphne” de Selincourt in 1913.   He was also a member of J.M. Barrie's recreational cricket team the 'Allahakbarries'.

Commissioned into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 17th February 1915, Alan was posted to The Somme in the summer of 1916.   He contracted Trench Fever while there and was sent back to Britain to recover.  After that he joined the Royal Corps of Signals and later worked for Military Intelligence.

Alan and Dorothy’s son Christopher Robin was born in 1925.

During the Second World War, Alan was a Captain in the Home Guard. 

A.A. Milne's WW1 poetry collection "For the luncheon interval: cricket and other verses" was published in 1925 by Methuen, London. 

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Hedd Wyn - Bardic name of Ellis Humphrey Evans (1887 - 1917) - Welsh Poet

Ellis Humphrey Evans was born on 13th January 1887.  He was the eldest of eleven children born to Evan Evans and his wife Mary, nee Morris.  Evan was also a poet.  Ellis was brought up on the family farm near Trawsfynydd in Wales, where he worked as a shepherd after leaving school, during which time he wrote most of his poetry.

Ellis wrote his first poem at the age of eleven and won 6 Bardic Chairs for his poetry.  In 1910 he was allocated the name of Hedd Wyn, which translates into English from Welsh as 'blessed peace'.

Called up for military service in 1916, Ellis enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusilier Regiment and was posted to the Western Front.  The war inspired Hedd Wyn's work and produced some of his most noted poetry, including Plant Trawsfynydd ("Children of Trawsfynydd"), Y Blotyn Du ("The Black Dot"), and Nid â'n Ango ("[It] Will Not Be Forgotten"). His poem, Rhyfel ("War"), remains one of his most frequently quoted works.

Hedd Wynn was killed on 31st July 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele at Pickern Ridge.  Ellis was buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium.

A few weeks after his death, Ellis's poem won the Bardic Chair at the Eisteddfod, which was held in Birkenhead in 1917. The chair that year was made by a Belgian refugee.

A collection of Hedd Wyn's poems was published in 1918 under the title "Cerddi'r Bugail" (En. Tr. 'Poems of the Shepherd').  The photograph of Ellis is taken from that publication.

WAR by Hedd Wyn

Why must I live in this grim age
When, to a far horizon, God
Has ebbed away, and man, with rage
Now wields the sceptre and the rod?

Man raised his sword, once God had gone,
To slay his brother, and the roar
Of battlefields now casts upon
Our homes the shadow of the war.

The harps to which we sang are hung
On willow boughs, and their refrain
Drowned by the anguish of the young
Whose blood is mingled with the rain.

Translation by Alan Llwyd
© Alan Llwyd / Cyhoeddiadau Barddas

NOTE The Royal Welch Fusiliers (In Welsh: Ffiwsilwyr Brenhinol Cymreig) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army and part of the Prince of Wales' Division, founded in 1689 shortly after the Glorious Revolution. In 1702, it was designated a fusilier regiment and became The Welch Regiment of Fusiliers; the prefix "Royal" was added in 1713, then confirmed in 1714 when George I named it The Prince of Wales's Own Royal Regiment of Welsh Fusiliers. After the 1751 reforms that standardised the naming and numbering of regiments, it became the 23rd Foot (Royal Welsh Fuzileers).

The Regiment retained the archaic spelling of Welch, instead of Welsh, and Fuzileers for Fusiliers; these were engraved on swords carried by regimental officers during the Napoleonic Wars. After the 1881 Childers Reforms, its official title was The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but "Welch" continued to be used informally until restored in 1920 by Army Order No.56.

Researching for the 2017 Exhibition was particularly poignant for me because my Great Uncle James was killed on the first day of the Battle of Arras - 9th April 1917 - which was Easter Monday that year.  Poets killed on that day include Canadian William Maunsell Scanlan, MC, MM and British poets Edward Thomas, R.E. Vernède and Walter Lightowler Wilkinson.

Hedd Wyn was among the poets included in the "Arras, Messines, Passchendaele & More" exhibition held at the Award-winning Wilfred Owen Story, on the Wirral Peninsula in the north west of England.  If you are planning a visit to the Wirral, please find time to visit the Futility statue in nearby Hamilton Square.   There is also a book of the exhibition:


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Alexander Robertson (1882 - 1916) - British Schoolteacher & Poet

The poet Alexander Robertson was born on 12th January 1882.

Alexander featured in the exhibition of Poets, Writers and Artists of the Somme, 1916 which was on display at the Award-winning Wilfred Owen Story in Birkenhead, Wirral, UK in 2016. Panels from the exhibition are on file at the WOS, which is open from Tuesday - Friday from 12 noon until 2 pm. Entry is free.

Alexander was born in St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, the eldest son and second child of five born to Robert Robertson, a schoolteacher, and his wife Mary Jane Robertson.

After studying at Edinburgh University, Alexander taught history before going up to Oxford.  He took up a post at Sheffield University in February 1914.   When war broke out, Alexander joined the 12th (Service) (Sheffield) Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment as a Private.   At the time of his death on the Western Front on 1st July 1916, Alexander was an Acting Corporal.

His WW1 Poetry collections were:  "Comrades, poems" (Elkin Mathews, London, 1916) and "Last Poems" published after his death by Elkin Mathews in 1918.  Alexander's poems were included in six WW1 anthologies, including "The Muse in Arms".

There is a book of the Somme Poets 1916 Exhibition
The Wilfred Owen Story, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 6AE, UK.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

André Soriac (1864 – 1927) – French poet

André Soriac, known as the ‘poet of the Trenches’, was the pen name of Robert Edouard André Bucquet.

Robert Edouard André Bucquet was born in around 1864 in St Egrève, Isère, France.    A French soldier poet artist -  a ‘Poilu’ - Soriac was fifty when he volunteered to join the French Army in 1914.  He joined the 277th Regiment of the French Infantry and served in Lorraine in France. Soriac took part in the Battle of Verdun and was wounded three times before being invalided out of the Army in 1916.  Between 1915 and 1916, he published four series of illustrated postcards with poems.

In April 1921, André married Leonie Eugenie Adèle Boots, who was the daughter of a wealthy Maastricht family.  Léonie taught French at a Nijmegen secondary school for girls. They had one child – a son, André, who was born on 29th December 1922, 

André Soriac died in Nijmegen in the Netherlands on 12th August 1927. He may have committed suicide due to prolonged depression caused by his wartime suffering. Between 1922 and 1925 he traded in postage stamps.

The French soldiers of the First World War were known affectionately as ‘Poilus’ (literally, the hairy ones), presumably because it was impossible to shave in the Trenches.   Verdun is a city on the River Meuse in Lorraine in the north east of France.

Below is one of André’s poems. I have translated it very roughly for those of you who do not understand French.  As far as I have been able to ascertain, Diane Degaby was a musical hall artist.

‘Nos Bagues’ a poem by André Soriac

Dedicated to ‘la belle Diane Degaby, la Bienfaitrice Amie de tous les Poilus Artistes – affectueusement’.

La rafale est passée et les Poilus bien vite
Sans souci des obus, une Pioche à la main,
Bondissent des abris dans un trou de marmite
Pour retrouver au fond le blanc metal germain!...

Et puis, c’est l’atelier dans un coin des tranchées …
Quelques menus outils, une lime, un Marteau,
Pour polir nuit et jour ces bagues guillochées,
Hier … instrument de mort, aujourd’hui … humble aurea.

La bague est terminée et demain, bonnes mères,
Femmes, petites soeurs, ces bijoux des frontiers
Terniront à vos doigts vos plus riches joyaux!...
Car, toutes, vous saurez combine de moments tristes
De soucis, de dangers, vos chers Poilus-Artistes
Ont vécus pour la faire … au fond de leurs boyaux.

No. 28, 3e Série de Cartes-Sonnets illustrées de la Guerre, Edition Cigolia, 8, rue de Condé, Paris 6e.

‘Our Rings’

Dedicated to The Beautiful Diane Degaby, Benefactrice and friend of all the artist-poilus, with great affection.

The storm has passed and the Poilus rush
Heedless of the shells, shovels at the ready,
Leaping from their shelter in a shell hole
Gathering up the spent, white, German metal.

Then, it’s action stations in a corner of the Trench …
A workshop with a few scant tools, a file, a hammer to hand,
Polishing night and day these machine-turned rings.
Yesterday an instrument of death, today … a humble gold band.

The ring is ready and tomorrow, dear Mothers,
Wives, little sisters, these jewels of the frontiers
Will shine – your most valued jewels – on your fingers.
For you will know just many countless moments of sorrow
Of care and danger your dear soldier artists
Have been through to make that ring … in the depths of their Trenches.

Number 28 in a series of illustrated poem cards of the Great War, published by Editions Cigola, 8 rue de Condé, Paris 6.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Hon. Ivar Campbell (1890 – 1916) – British soldier poet

With thanks to Connie Ruzich for reminding me I had not posted this information.

Born on 14th May 1890, Ivar’s parents were Lord George Granville Campbell and his wife, Sybil Lascelles Alexander. Ivar’s grandfather was the 8th Duke of Argyll. Ivar’s siblings were Joan and Enid.

The family lived in Strrachur Park, Argyll, Scotland and Bryanston Square, London.  Educated at Stone House School, Broadstairs, Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford, Ivar was sent as an honorary Attaché to the British Embassy in Washington, 1912 – 1914.

When war broke out, Ivar volunteered to join the Army but was rejected due to defective eyesight. Instead, he joined an American Red Cross Society unit in France as an ambulance driver.  In February 1915, he was commissioned into the 1st Seaforth Highlanders Regiment and posted to the Western Front.  In May 1916, his Regiment deployed to Mesopotamia. Leading his men against the Turkish position at Sheikh Saad on 7th January 1916, Ivar was shot and died of his wounds the following day. He is remembered on Panel 41 on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

After his death, Ivar’s friends and family published: “Letters of Ivar Campbell London” Privately Printed, 1917 and “The Prose Writings of Ivar Campbell”.  He had a poem published in Frederic W. Ziv’s anthology “The Valiant Muse: An Anthology of Poems by Poets killed in the World War” (Putnam, New York, 1936).

“A Meditation upon the Return of the Greeks”

Trojan War, 5th c. BC terracotta cup
When in their long lean ships the Greek host weighted
Their splashing anchors, then they had much joy
For lovely Helen’s sake to humble Troy…
Their first deed was the murder of a maid.†

Ten years from their pleasant land they stayed,
And after ten years, had they any joy?
They had old Helen, and they humbled Troy:
Were they at her lost loveliness dismayed?

Thinking of their lost Youth were they afraid?
Was Youth worth more than Helen—Helen of Troy?
Was it for this tired face they had spent joy?

"For What," Frederick H. Varley
Canadian War Museum
For this tall, weary woman burnt a maid?

When on that quiet night the Greek host laid
Down their dinted armour, had they any joy?

Ivar Campbell

Ivar is rmembered in the little book "Poets' Corners in Foreign Fields".

The sketch of Ivar Campbell is from "Prose Writings of Ivar Campbell".

Monday, 7 January 2019

Egbert Thomas Sandford (1871 – 1949) – British

With thanks to Connie Ruzich for reminding me I hadn't researched Egbert

Egbert Thomas Sandford was born on 26th March 1871 in Dorking, UK.  He had several of his WW1 poetry collections published - "Brookdown, and other poems" (Erskine Macdonald, London 1915), "Mad Moments: Poems" (Maunsel, Dublin, 1919) and "Poems" (Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1927). His poems were published in four WW1 anthologies.

Egbert’s Mother was Emily Sandford, nee Biddle, who was born in1842.

In 1893, Egbert married Annie Louisa Harris and they had had a son, Egbert Theodore, born in 1896, who served as a Second Lieutenant in the Devonshire Regiment during the First World War.

Here is one of Egbert's poems:

“At Bethlehem—1915”

The travelers are astir—
        Bearing frowns for incense,
Scorns for myrrh.

War flings its sign afar—
        There’s blood upon the Manger,
Blood upon the Star.

Dear Lord:
        Who fain would find the Saviour
Find the Sword.

E.T. Sandford

In the Introduction to his WW1 poetry collection “Brookdown & Other Poems”, WW1 Female Poets S. Gertrude Ford says:

“Mr. Egbert J. Sandford describes himself as "… an ordinary working man," whose whole effort, so far as his art is concerned, is to " take the common things of life and weave them into song." How far he has succeeded in this effort may be gathered from the fact that a number of the poems here collected have appeared in the Spectator, the Poetry Review, the Westminster Gazette and Great Thoughts. The poem to his brother bard, the street salesman Mr. Wm. Shepperley, is re- printed from the Evening Standard. To the editors of these papers our thanks are due for their courtesy in permitting republication.

In his working hours Mr. Sandford is a storehouseman at Plymouth, and is at present employed in that capacity under the Government. The chief literary influences in his life have been William Blake and Francis Thompson, and a literary class at Blackheath has been his chief means of encouragement and
inspiration. To one of its talented lecturers— Mr. Albert A. Cock, B.A. — he owes the friendly notice of Mr. Strachey, editor of the Spectator. Several other critics have since given him a generous meed of praise.   S. Gertrude Ford”

It is easy to see how people mistake the T for a J...

Initial Source: Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) p. 284

Poem from Connie Ruzich website Behind Their Lines:…/12/bethlehem-1915.h…

“Brookdown & Other Poems” is available as a down-load on Archive: