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* 

Poem included with thanks to the response from the Team at Reading University and in

particular to Research Volunteer Jeremy Jones

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.

“By a wayside Calvary – France” By Ernest Denny written in October 1916

Ah!  Christ, again

Thou hangest in carven agony;

Meek, yet superbly proud, Thou challengest me

To gaze afresh upon Thine ancient pain,

To see Thee at Thy penance for no sin.

Again I watch the ancient strife begin –

Thee dying, and the busy world around 

Eating and drinking, buying and selling, pause

A moment and pass by. 

And Thou, uplifted high 

In wooden imagery to plead Thy cause

Criest aloud, with lips that make no sound. 

The poem is on page 14 of “Triumphant Laughter”which was found for us by Jeremy Jones, a research volunteer at Reading University Museum of English Rural Life / Special Collections Service.

Jeremy tells us: “In 2017 the university received a donation of material relating to Ernest, which contained some of his poems in manuscript form. Ernest is described on the photograph of his grave on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website as "one of the war poets". Subsequent to his death, Ernest’s work was published In 'Galleys Laden' (1918) and 'Triumphant Laughter' (1978).”

Wayside Calvary, Fricourt, France, WW1


* 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