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Remembered Today:

Complete Works of William Shakespeare Book


LindaLuvvy
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I have a Complete Works of William Shakespeare Book which belonged to my Grandfather, William Frederick Wallis, 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment.

It was apparently presented to each soldier fighting in the Great War under the auspices of the League of Empire, in memory of Earl Kitchener.

The letter and frontispiece in the book state:-

"In Remembrance of F.M.Earl Kitchener of Khartoum"

It also has a letter in the front from the Kitchener Souvenir Committee showing approval of the gift by His Majesty the King.

Having spoken to the guys at The Rifles Museum in Salisbury, the staff from Forces War Records and a military "expert" at the Who Do You Think You Are Exhibition, not one of them had ever seen a copy.

Does anyone on here have a copy, or has ever seen a copy or do I have a rare item?

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Must be pretty thick (or else the type face microscopic) not the sort of thing to fit in a pack. do you have a photo we can see?

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Must be pretty thick (or else the type face microscopic) not the sort of thing to fit in a pack. do you have a photo we can see?

Thin paper as used in Bibles possibly. Much later than the GW, I have a 1945 copy of my father's printed on such, it measures 5.5 x 7.5 x 1.25 inches, 1165 pages including a glossary (published by Oxford University Press; the first edition, although not necessarily on thin paper, is given as 1904)

NigelS

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Even then not a small book and not inexpensive I would think - which is why I wonder about the intention to present one to every soldier

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Forum member 'mac' is well up on the Royal Berkshires- though you may have spoken to him at The Wardrobe as I think he is involved there. Regards, Paul.

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Yes, I have a photo but it wouldn't load on here as too large apparently.

My frontispiece says Frederick Warne and Co., London and New York. Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh.

The book is embossed on the front with the League of the Empire Logo.

1136 pages including a glossary, plus a Memoir of Shakespeare and Shakespeare's Will.

There is a certificate first, stating In Remembrance of F.M.Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, Born June 24th 1850, Died June 5th 1916.

To Private William Frederick Wallis, 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment (Lavante, Cambrai, Arras, Albert) who was disable fighting in the Great War 1914-1919. Presented under the auspices of the League of the Empire.

Then there is a copy of a letter from Buckingham Palace to Sir Philip Hutchins KCSI, Chairman of the Council, League of Empire, in the front is dated 27th October 1916.

States "the King desires me to thank you and the Members of the Council of the League of the Empire for so kindly sending His Majesty a copy of the edition of Shakespeare's works which will be given to each soldier disabled in the present war in memory of Lord Kitchener.

At the same time, I am to express the King's appreciation both of the idea of the memento and the form which it is to take."

On the back of that is the letter to my Grandfather from Sidney Lee, Chairman of the Kitchener Souvenir Committee of the League of the Empire. That is too long to type out here!!

The size is the same as Nigel S above, but was definitely early, because my Grandfather died of TB in 1936.

Actually, I sent all the documentation I had on my Grandfather to the curator at The Wardrobe, including photos of the book but never had a reply.

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The Times carries a bit on this

November 1st, 1916

KITCHENER MEMENTO FOR WOUNDED

The King has accepted and approved a copy of the edition of Shakespeare's works which will be given to each soldier disabled in the war in memory of Lord Kitchener.
The gift is being made through a special committee of the League of the Empire of which Sir Sidney Lee is chairmen and Mrs Holman-Hunt hon. treasurer. The volume has been specially bound and contains a book-plate on which the name and regiment of the disabled man appears.

March 14th, 1918

"SHAKESPEARE AND MUSIC!"

The postponed lecture by Sir Frederick Bridge, C.V.O.., on "Shakespeare and Music," arranged by the League of Empire and under the patronage of Princess Beatrice, will be held in the Theatre of Burlington House (6, Burlington-gardens) next Saturday, at 5, in aid of the Kitchener Souvenir Fund. The choristers of Westminster Abbey will illustrate the lecture. The Souvenir is a volume of Shakespeare with an appropriate bookplate, and the intention is to present one, in memory of Lord Kitchener, to all officers and men permanently disabled in the war, About 1,300 copies have already been distributed, and additional funds are required.
Application for tickets should be made to Mrs. Holman-Hunt, League of the Empire, 28, Buckingham-gate, S.W.1.

Can't help wondering if the distribution might have run into funding problem as, If it had been completed on the scale envisaged, it would seem likely that many more of these volumes would have survived to today as, like the Bible, it's the type of book that some families would have kept & passed on - this is the first I've heard mentioned of one or the scheme, then I'm not a book collector.

NigelS

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Now that's more realistic - the OP said to every man fighting which is a lot more than every man disabled. Again does it mean permanently disabled or just wounded? If the former the numbers go down further and the issue of carrying it in the pack or kit bag vanishes. Much more likely. Is Lindal's grandfather on the SWB rolls as one would expect if he were disabled?

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Discovered that there are some GW editions of The Federal Magazine and the All-Red Mail ( 'a monthly Record of the League of the Empire, with which is incorporated the Overseas League, and of the Imperial education Trust' ) available at the Internet Archive which gives a little more info

Each volume is given as costing 2s 6d, specially bound & included a commemorative book plate with the soldiers' name & details ; from the commentary the qualification appears to have changed from the initial 'disabled' to 'totally disabled' & 'permanently disabled'; donations to the fund made by the 'Great & the Good' - names given; approval given by the King; extracts from letters of thanks from unnamed recipients; General presentations made at St Dunstans college/hostel for the blind (a letter of from a blind recipient gives that even though he couldn't read it himself it was still much appreciated as it was read to him), & the Star & Garter home; Award looks as if it may have been through nomination/recommendation or application

Here are some links. some editions # give much more information than others (I found opening the PDF version and then searching for 'Shakes' worked; the text versions are OCR & suffer with corrupt words etc)

Vol No 110 AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 1916 http://archive.org/details/federalmagazinea110londuoft

Vol No 111 JANUARY - FEBRUARY, 1917 http://archive.org/details/federalmagazinea111londuoft

(Vol No 112 appears to be missing)

Vol No 113 JULY - AUGUST 1917 http://archive.org/details/federalmagazinea113londuoft

Vol No 114 EASTER 1918 http://archive.org/details/federalmagazinea114londuoft

Vol No. 115 MIDSUMMER http://archive.org/details/federalmagazinea115londuoft

Vol No. 116 MICHAELMAS, 1918 http://archive.org/details/federalmagazinea116londuoft

The All Red Mail (Supplement to the Federal Magazine) Abridged War Number - Midsummer, 1918 http://archive.org/details/federalmagazin1918londuoft

NIgelS

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Thanks guys....

This is more information than I've ever had before.

Having discussed it with the staff at The Wardrobe in June 2011, and staff from Forces War Records & one of the military "experts" at the Who Do You Think You Are Exhibition, not one of them had ever seen a copy.

My Grandfather was wounded in action 3 times in all, lastly causing his left leg to amputated. At some point between 1920 and 1922, he ended up living in the "Poppy Flats" in Richmond which were behind the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory. He was employed at the factory, making poppies.

He is buried in the military/Star & Garter section at Richmond Cemetery, although my Grandmother paid for her own headstone with a tribute on it.

What happened between him being wounded in action for the last time, and being discharged from the Army in 1920, I have no idea.

The staff at Forces War Records said that he would've been triaged & then moved to the UK when he was well enough. He would have then been sent to rehabilitation either in Wales or Scotland apparently. How he ended up in eventually in Richmond, being originally from Woolwich, I have no clue!

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Well he certainly will be on the Silver War Badge Roll and qualified under the most strict interpretation as disabled. I understand that men from all over were offered work in such factories - they weren't strictly for people already in the area.

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  • 6 months later...

I also have one of these League of the Empire volumes from the "Kitchener Souvenir Committee" belonging to grandfather 2nd Lt GE Morris 1/6th RWF. Posting photos for all to see.

post-87057-0-91492200-1394645895_thumb.j

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