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