Friday, 3 November 2017

"Tipperary to Flanders Fields" commemorating WW1, Remembrance Weekend 2017, Kent, UK

The UK Kent-based Actors’ Co-operative Katapult Productions presents "Tipperary to Flanders Fields" which commemorates the First World War in words and music, using some of the songs and poems from the era.  Some of the content tells the story of the women in WW1 in their own words.  

Devised and directed by Michael Thomas the performers will be Julia Burnett, Marie Kelly, Alan Simmons and Ann Lindsey Wickens.

Performances of “Tipperary to Flanders Fields” will be held during Remembrance Weekend 2017 at the following venues:

The Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DN on 11th November 2017 at 7.30pm;

at The Astor, Deal, CT14 6AB on 12/11/2017 at 4pm;

and at The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT on 13/11/2017 at 2.30pm.

Tickets available from the box offices of the theatres.

Initial information shared from Remembering Women on the Home Front Facebook page, with further information provided by Katapult Productions.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

A very interesting commemorative project: "The Bridge: Reading the Poetry of War"

With thanks to Deb Fisher of the Siegfried Sassoon Association and to Patrick Villa of the War Poets Association for finding this interesting project organised by Eric M. Murphy and Linda A. Saunders.  Further details about The Bridge Reading the Poetry of War can be found on their website:

The organisers are hoping for the in-put of as many people as possible so do have a look and see if your own favourite poem has been added and if not please add it.




Saturday, 28 October 2017

Poets of 1917: John Arnold Nicklin (1871 – 1917) – British

John Arnold Nicklin was born in Llanfair Caerncinion in Montgomeryshire, Wales, UK in 1871.  His parents were Thomas Nicklin, a farmer from Glamorgan, Wales and his wife Hannah Nicklin, nee Fenn, from Shropshire.  John had the following siblings:  Thomas, b. 1869 and Hannah Constance, b. 1870.  The children’s father died on 8th September 1873. 

Educated at Shrewsbury School before going up to St. John’s College, Cambridge to study Classics, John became a teacher and was Assistant Master at Liverpool College from 1896 – 1901 when the family lived in Toxteth on Merseyside.  He wrote for “The Daily Chronicle” and “The Tribune” newspapers.

In 1903, John married Maria Louisa Petrie in London and they went to live in Lambeth, where John died on 16th April 1917.

John’s WW1 collection “And they went to the war: poems” was published by Sidgwick & Jackson, London in October 1914.


Michael Copp “Cambridge Poets of the Great War: An Anthology” (Associated University Presses, London, 2001)

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliograph” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978)

Find my Past and Free BMD websites.
From “Whitechapel” by John Arnold Nicklin (describing a volunteer)

A white and wolfish face, with fangs
Half-snarling out of flaccid lips:
Ann unkempt head that loosely hangs;
Shoulders that cower from gaoler’s grips;

Eyes furtive in their greedy glance;
Slim fingers not untaught to thieve; -
He shambles forward to the chance
His whole life’s squalor to retrieve. 

From Nicklin's WW1 collection.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Stephen Southwold (1887 – 1964) - British

It always surprises me when I research the forgotten poets of the First World War when I discover someone like writer and poet Stephen Southwold who was a very prolific writer but is now almost completely forgotten.   He has a brief mention in Catherine W. Reilly's "English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) on page 300, giving the title of his WW1 collection and the fact that Reilly found a copy in the British Museum.  Fortunately, Stephen's grandson, Andrew, is working hard to ensure that Stephen's work is given more attention.

Stephen was born Stephen Henry Critten on 22nd February 1887 in Southwold, Suffolk.  His parents were George Miller Critten, an insurance agent, and his wife Emma Critten, nee Lambert.  The family lived in Suffolk but in 1911 were registered as living in West Ham, London.   Stephen’s siblings were Dorothea, b. 1880, Katherine or Catherine, b. 1882 and Percy, b. 1885.  Like Stephen, his siblings became school teachers.

Stephen studied to become a school teacher at St. Mark’s Training College in Chelsea, London.  He then worked as a teacher at Earlsmead Council School in Tottenham from 1907 until 1913 and at Culvert Road Council School from 1913 until 1927, with a break for military service.

Stephen joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Private and served on the Western Front from 1914 until 1919.   Many of his WW1 poems were written in France in 1918.

In 1928, Stephen married Edith A.S. Bill and they lived in Herne Bay, Kent.

Apart from poems, Stephen, who changed his surname to Southwold, wrote children’s stories, novels and science fiction and used the pen names Neil Bell, Miles, Stephen Green, S.H. Lambert and Paul Martens.

His WW1 poetry collection “The Common Day: Poems” was published by Allen & Unwin in 1915.

For further information about Stephen and to read some of his poems, please see Andrew Southwold’s Facebook page dedicated to his grandfather
Find my Past and Free BMD
Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) and information from the Facebook Page Stephen Southwold kindly supplied by Andrew Southwold.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Edward Verrall Lucas - E.V. Lucas - (1968 - 1938) - British

Edward Verrall Lucas, a Quaker poet, writer, journalist and publisher, was born in Eltham, Kent in 1868.  He was the second of four sons and three daughters born to Alfred Lucas and his wife Jane, nee Drewett.

Edward was educated at The Friends’ School in Saffron Walden. After leaving school Edward worked in a bookshop in Brighton before becoming a journalist for a Brighton newspaper.  He then went to London to work on an evening paper. 

In 1897, Edward married Florence Elizabeth Griffin, whose father was American, and the couple had a daughter, Audrey.

In 1904, Edward began working for “Punch” magazine and became assistant editor.  He worked there for 34 years and in 1924 he also became Chairman of the publishers Methuen.

Edward became a close friend of J.M. Barrie and joined Barrie’s recreational cricket team.  Barrie’s cricket team played their final match on 28th July 1913 against E.V. Lucas’s XI at Downe House School, which was at that time housed in Kent in a property that had belonged to Charles Darwin. E.V.’s daughter Audrey Lucas, was a pupil at Downe House School at that time.

During the First World War, E.V. Lucas worked as a Secretary for the British Red Cross in Italy.  His WW1 poetry collections were:  “The Debt” (Methuen, 1914; “Guillaumism: two aspects (Clement Shorter, 1914); “Swollen-headed William: painful stories and funny pictures after the German” (Methuen, 1914); and his poems were published in four WW1 poetry anthologies.

Soon after the end of the war Edward and Elizabeth separated and Edward died in a nursing home in Marylebone, London at the age of seventy.

Catherin W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliography“, (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), p. 204.
Audrey Lucas “E.V. Lucas A Portrait”
Find my Past: Register of British Red Cross WW1 Overseas Volunteers
Photograph E.V. Lucas in 1895.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Ronald Gorell Barnes, MC, Lord Gorell (1884 - 1963) – British politician, writer, poet and editor

Ronald Gorell Barnes, 3rd Baron Gorell was born on 16th April 1884. He was the son of John Gorell Barnes, 1st Baron Gorell, and his wife, Mary, nee Humpston Mitchell.  Educated at Winchester College, Winchester, UK and Harrow School, Harrow, UK, Ronald went up to Balliol College, Oxford, graduating with a Master of Arts.

He was called to Inner Temple in 1909 and was entitled to practise as a barrister. Between 1911 and 1915, Ronald worked as a journalist at “The Times” newspaper.  He held the rank of Captain in the Rifle Brigade and served during the First World War, being mentioned in despatches. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917.

Ronald became the 3rd Baron Gorell, of Brampton, Derby on 16th January 1917 after the death of his elder brother who was killed in WW1. He was appointed Officer, Order of the British Empire in 1918 and was also awarded the Order of Leopold of Belgium. In 1919, Ronald was appointed Commander, Order of the British Empire in 1919.  

 On 10th January 1922, Ronald married Maud Elizabeth Furse Radcliffe, daughter of Alexander Nelson Radcliffe and Isabel Grace, nee Henderson.  The couple had three children – two sons and a daughter.  From 1913 until 1917, Maud was the spiritual medium who helped the poet William Butler Yeats.

President of the Royal Society Teachers from 1929 to 1935 and editor of “Cornhill Magazine” between 1933 and 1939, along with Agatha Christie Ronald was co-president of the Detection Club from 1956 until 1963.

Ronald died on 2nd May 1963 at the age of 79.   His WW1 poetry collections were:

“Days of Destiny: war poems at home and abroad”, (Longmans, Green, London, 1917)

“Many mansions (poems)” (Murray, 1926)

“Pilgrimage and other poems” (Longmans, Green, London, 1920 and his poems were published in seven WW1 poetry anthologies.


“Days of Destiny” is available as a download from Archive:


Sources: Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) and

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Herbert Asquith (1881 - 1947) – British poet, writer and lawyer

Herbert was the second son of Herbert Henry Asquith, the British Liberal politician, First Earl of Oxford, and his wife Helen Kelsall Asquith, nee Medland. Herbert junior wa born on 11th March 1881.  He had the following siblings:
Raymond (1878 – 1916), Arthur, b. 1884, Helen Violet (1887 – 1969) and Cyril (1890 – 1954).  Herbert senior’s first wife Helen Asquith died in 1891. 

Herbert Asquith senior was the British Prime Minister from 1908 until 1916 when he became ill following the death during the Somme Offensive of his eldest son Raymond. 

After the death of his first wife in 1891, Herbert senior married Emma Alice Margaret Tennant, known as Margot, in 1894.  The couple had a son, Anthony (1902 – 1968), who became a film director, and a daughter Elizabeth (1897 – 1945), who became a writer and poet.
In 1910, Herbert junior married Cynthia, daughter of Hugo Richard Charteris, the 11th Earl of Weymss.  Cynthia was also a writer.

Like his brother Raymond, Herbert junior became a lawyer.  They both served with the Royal Artillery during the First World War, Herbert junior reaching the rank of Captain.
Herbert junior died on 5th August 1947.

The Hon. Herbert Asquith’s First World War poetry collections were:
“Poems 1912 – 1933” (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1934

“The Volunteer and other poems” (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1915)
“The Volunteer and other poems, 2nd edition with new poems added” (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1917)

And his poems were published in 21 WW1 anthologies.

“The Fallen Subaltern”

The starshells float above, the bayonets glisten;
We bear our fallen friend without a sound;
Below the waiting legions lie and listen
To us, who march upon their burial-ground.

Wound in the flag of England, here we lay him;
The guns will flash and thunder o’er the grave;
What other winding sheet should now array him,
What other music should salute the brave?

As goes the Sun-god in his chariot glorious,
When all his golden banners are unfurled,
So goes the soldier, fallen but victorious,
And leaves behind a twilight in the world.

And those who come this way, in days hereafter,
Will know that here a boy for England fell,
Who looked at danger with the eyes of laughter,
And on the charge his days were ended well.

One last salute; the bayonets clash and glisten;
With arms reversed we go without a sound:
One more has joined the men who lie and listen
To us, who march upon their burial-ground.


Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York 1978)