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.