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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Skipman

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I'm looking for a good, accurate chronology/timeline for the war poets. I'm interested in where they were at a particular time, during the war. I have a pretty decent one for Wilfred Owen if you can help with others would appreciate.

Mike

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Hi Mike,

If you are interested in Robert Ernest Vernede, put his name into the search engine as I placed his memorial book on the forum with his letters home which will give you an pretty accurate timeline for him.

Andy

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Thanks Ken, could be useful.

Thanks too Andy. To be honest had never heard of him, but I will check him out. It's more the more well known ones that interest me, and just generally.

Mike

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Ahh, so its just the good old favourites, Owen, Sassoon and co of whom a great deal is known and continually written about!! :whistle: granted not one of the better known poets but wrote quite a few war poems such as C.H.V., England to the sea, The Call, The Indian Army, A Legend of the Fleet, To The United States, England Marching and so the list goes on. There was even a book of his War Poems brought out in 1917.

Andy

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I will check out your man, Andy, but for what I am doing, the better known poets will work better for me. I'm sure there were many poets equally worthy, who never got the recognition.

Mike

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Mike

I've started to go through "Goodbye..." by Graves to try and get some basic dating information but so far it's long on anecdote and short on dates. Hopefully I will be able to piece something together and I may be able to cross reference it with Sassoon. I'll use the Owen timeline as a guide and I'll listen to Sonny Rollins while I work......

Pete.

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Mike

Sorry about the delay; a rather good weekend has got in the way of the research. I've got a basic Sassoon timeline but it's a bit sketchy and needs verification; for example I've seen enlistment dates of 2nd and 3rd August and before and I can't find a date for the fall that broke his arm; I've found descriptions of the offending hedge but no dating evidence . Likewise some of the sources are Wikpedia which I want to cross reference as usual. Wikipedia is reliable more often than not but the entry which describes me as the highest paid supermodel of her generation clearly needs amending. I was only 3rd or 4th......

How much detail do you need and are there any specific periods that you are interested in? What it might be worth doing is posting what I've got and letting the experts correct it.

Pete.

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If you can give links to your info, that would do. I have Sassoon enlisting 2/8/1914. A good book on him ought to do it, or service record if anyone's had a gander?

You're top super-model mate.

Mike

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I've got Rupert Hart Davies' Sigfried Sassoon, The war Poems which has a bit of a timeline in it. Interested? I can transcribe it if needs be.

Peter B

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I've got Rupert Hart Davies' Sigfried Sassoon, The war Poems which has a bit of a timeline in it. Interested? I can transcribe it if needs be.

Peter B

Peter

I've got that one and it is what I'm basing my timeline on; I really appreciate the offer though. I've transcribed it into a text file and I'm just trying to fill it out a bit which is what is holding me up; I'll put in Mike's requirements and then post it. I'd be grateful if you could point out any glaring errors and omissions. At the moment it's long on hedged field boundaries, hidden barbed wire and how the horse landed but short on actual dates which to my mind is a bit of a drawback in a timeline.

Pete.

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OK Pete, It is a bit thin I have to agree. Good luck with the 'silk purse'. I'll hang on to the 'sow's ear'for now.

Cheers

Peter B

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Mike

Brief timeline for Sassoon based on The War Poems edited by Rupert Hart-Davies published by Faber in 1999. I'll try to fill in some of the gaps like the broken arm and throwing the medal ribbon into the Mersey and edit the timeline as I find stuff and hopefully the RWF experts comment. I'll have a go at Graves while I'm at it. Sparky, can you just make sure I've not made too many errors?

1914

August 2nd or 3rd Enlisted as a trooper in the Sussex Yeomanry (I think the 3rd was a Sunday so I tend towards the 2nd). Some sources suggest an earlier date of enlistment.
Late summer Breaks arm in a riding accident trying to jump a hedge with a hidden barbed wire fence; the horse landed on him.

1915

May 29th Commissioned into the 3rd Battalion RWF.
November 1st His younger brother Hamo is buried at sea after suffering a mortal wound at Gallipoli.
November 24th Joins 1st Battalion RWF in France.

1916

April 20th Starts four week course at 4th Army School at Flixecourt.
June Awarded Military Cross for gallantry at Bois Francais near Fricourt.

July 1st Watches the Somme offensive start from a positionjust west of Fricourt.
August 2nd Invalided home with trench fever. Treated at Somerville College, Oxford and convaleses in Weirleigh, his birthplace.
December 4th Reports to RWF Regimental Depot, Litherland.

1917

February 16th Arrives at Infantry Base Depot at Rouen.
February 18th-27th In 25 Stationary Hospital, Rouen with german measles.
March 11th Joins 2nd Battalion RWF on Somme front.
April 16th Wounded in the shoulder during the Arras
April 20th Hospitalised at Denmark Hill, London
May 8th The Old Huntsman is published.
May 12th-June 4th Convaleses at Chapelwood Manor, Nutley, Sussex.
July 20th Attends medical board at Liverpool after which he is sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh.
July 30th His letter against the continuation of the war is read out in the House of Commons.
July 31st The reading of the letter is reported in the Times.
November 26th Passed fit for General Service.
December 11th Reports back to Litherland depot.

1918

January 7th Posted to Limerick.
February 8th Posted to 25th Battalion RWF in Palestine.
May 9th Battalion arrives in France.
June 27th Counter-attack published.
July 13th Wounded in the head and treated in the American Red Cross Hospital, 98 Lancaster Gate, London.
August 20th Sent to convalese at Lennel House near Coldstream, Berwickshire and remains on indefinite sick leave.

1919

March 12th Officially retires from the Army.
October 30th War Poems published.

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Excellent Pete, and many thanks for posting. Don't go into too much detail on my account, as a rough guide is sufficient for me, but feel free to add as much as you like, for the benefit of all Forum members, and if I can add anything I will. :thumbsup:

Mike

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Mike

I'm part way through the Graves timeline but unfortunately the dog ate my homework the level of detail is very uneven; I've got daily entries for summer 1915 but no date of arrival in France, only the month. Can you wait for a day or so? As you have spotted I've been a bit sidetracked by Christmas truce footy. If I was a better and nicer person I'd be ashamed....

Pete.

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Pete, as I said, don't go into too much detail on my account. A basic timeline will suffice for me. Feel free to add as much detail as you want for the benefit of the Forum though :thumbsup:

"jumpers for goalposts " eh, mmm?

Mike

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Mike

I've got daily entries for summer 1915 but no date of arrival in France, only the month.

Pete.

On 12 May 1915 Robert sent his parents a telegram 'Starting France today, Don't worry, best love Robbie' [Diary of Alfred Perceval Graves cited in Robert Graves The Assault Heroic Richard Perceval Graves]. He then took passage from Liverpool to Le Havre with six other officers.

After a spell at the Base Depot at Le Havre he was 'disgusted' to find he and four others were to be attached to the 2nd Welsh Regiment and not their own Regiment the Royal Welch Fusiliers (where he was posted in July 1915, a few days after his birthday on the 24th).

On 17 May 1915 he 'joined a great column' for the Front. After twenty five hours on the train they reached Bethune and were told they were to go straight to the trenches. After a five mile march by cobbled road and a mile [Eastward to Cambrin] and a half down a communication trench in the dark he joined his unit and was posted to C Company. [RPG notes that in reality it's more likely he slept the first night and the account in GTA of immediately standing a watch (which, as acknowledged by RG was an 'autobiographical novel') was embellished.

Battalion came out of the trenches three days later.

25th May back in to the front line at the Cuinchy brickstacks.

Ken

btw you had 'jumpers for goalposts'! RG records playing cricket with 'a rag ball, a stump of charred wood for a bat and a parrot cage for a wicket'!

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Mike

Isn't it? Mmm? As promised a Graves timeline derived from Goodbye to All That. Hopefully Ken's expertise can help me correct it.

1914

August Enlisted in RWF at Wrexham after being recommended by the Secretary of the Royal Harlech Golf Club.
Autumn Posted to guard German internees at Lancaster.

1915

May 12th Sent to France and is attached to the 2nd Battalion the Welsh Regiment. Goes into the front line at Cambrin.
May 17th
May 21st In billets at Le Bourse.
May 22nd Unable to sleep due to the French bombardment of Souchez and Notre Dame de Lorette.
May 25th Returns to front line duty.
May 28th In trenches among the Cuinchy brickstacks.
June 6th In billets at Bethune. Remarks on a notice on a building next to the canal - "Troops are forbidden to bomb fish".
June 9th Back in the front line in a "nasty little salient" just south of the Cuinchy brickstacks taking heavy casualties.
June 24th Billeted in the cellars of the wrecked village of Vermelles. Plays cricket about 3/4 mile behind the front lines.
End of July Transferred back to 2nd Royal Welch; takes 56 hours to travel 17 miles by train to Laventie. Trench holding.
Mid August Back at Cuinchy holding the south side of the canal bank just north of where he had been in May.
September 9th Goes on leave to London and then hill walked around Harlech.
September 19th Goes back into the line at Cambrin relieving the Middlesex Rgt. with the Loos bombardment already underway.
September 23rd Receives maps and orders for the offensive.
September 25th Sees first battle experience at Loo
3rd October Leaves front line for billets in Annezin near Bethune.
15th October Promoted to Special Reserve captain.
November Posted to 1st RWF and meets Siegfried Sassoon at Locon near Cambrin. Works on new defences at Festubert.
Early December 1st RWF transferred to Somme front and goes into billets at Montagne de Fayel west of Amiens.

1916

January-February Instructing new recruits at Harfleur.
March Returns to front line duty at Bois Francais near Fricourt alternating with billets in Morlancourt.
April-June Returns home on leave initially in Wales and then has his nose reset in London so he can use the new gas helmet.
Returns to Harlech and buys a cottage from his mother which he renovates.
Is introduced to Lloyd George in London by his father and returns to 3rd RWF at Litherland depot.
July 5th Arrives at Givenchy
July 19th On Somme front in reserve for attack on High Wood.
July 20th Wounded by a shell splinter in the back through to the chest at High Wood and reported killed.
July 21st Discovered to be still alive at the dressing station at Mametz Wood and evacuated to Heilly.
July 24th His 21st birthday.
July 30th In No. 8 Hospital Rouen.
Early August Transferred by hospital ship and train to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Highgate, London.
August 5th The Times publishes notice contradicting earlier reports of his death.
September Travels to Harlech with Sassoon.
November Returns to Litherland depot with Sassoon and share a hut. They play golf at Formby and swim at the Adelphi hotel.
December Attends medical board and is passed fit for active service.

1917

January Returns to France and is posted to the Bull Ring at Harfleur.
January-February Returns to the 2nd RWF at Bouchavesnes on the Somme. Billets at Suzanne. Gets bronchitis looking for lost horses.
Hospitalised at No. 8 Hospital, Rouen and then at Somerville College, Oxford.
Spring/Summer Becomes an Officer cadet instructor at Oxford. Suffers relapse and is hospitalised again at Somerville.
Summer Convalesces at Osborne Palace on the Isle of Wight.
End of July Gets a copy of Sassoon's letter about the conduct of the war.
August Pulls strings and manages to return to Litherland to get Sassoon diagnosed with shell shock.
Detailed to escort Sassoon to Craiglockhart in Edinburgh (but misses their train) and meets WHR Rivers.
Late summer Transferred to 3rd RWF at Oswestry. Almost immediately organises battalion stores transfer to Kinmel Park near Rhyl.
Autumn/Winter Passed fit for overseas garrison service but remains at Kinmel Park,
Proposes to Nancy Nicholson, sister of Ben Nicholson the painter.

1918

January Marries Nancy at St James', Piccadilly. Wedding night interrupted by a Zeppelin raid.
February Engaged in Officer training with Cadet battalion at Kinmel Park where he remains for the rest of the war.
December Cadet battalion wound up.


1919

January His daughter Jenny is born. Rejoins the 3rd RWF at Limerick. Contracts Spanish flu and returns immediately to England.
Manages to get himself demobilised despite effectively deserting and recovers from the flu.

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On 12 May 1915 Robert sent his parents a telegram 'Starting France today, Don't worry, best love Robbie' [Diary of Alfred Perceval Graves cited in Robert Graves The Assault Heroic Richard Perceval Graves]. He then took passage from Liverpool to Le Havre with six other officers.

After a spell at the Base Depot at Le Havre he was 'disgusted' to find he and four others were to be attached to the 2nd Welsh Regiment and not their own Regiment the Royal Welch Fusiliers (where he was posted in July 1915, a few days after his birthday on the 24th).

On 17 May 1915 he 'joined a great column' for the Front. After twenty five hours on the train they reached Bethune and were told they were to go straight to the trenches. After a five mile march by cobbled road and a mile [Eastward to Cambrin] and a half down a communication trench in the dark he joined his unit and was posted to C Company. [RPG notes that in reality it's more likely he slept the first night and the account in GTA of immediately standing a watch (which, as acknowledged by RG was an 'autobiographical novel') was embellished.

Battalion came out of the trenches three days later.

25th May back in to the front line at the Cuinchy brickstacks.

Ken

btw you had 'jumpers for goalposts'! RG records playing cricket with 'a rag ball, a stump of charred wood for a bat and a parrot cage for a wicket'!

Ken

Thanks for this. I've just posted my timeline based on GTAT and I've incorporated some of your corrections. Let me know if there is anything else apocyphal or downright incorrect and I'll edit the timeline.

Pete.

P.S. I don't know if you are familiar with The Fast Show character Ron Manager but Skip is (he is familiar with everything) hence the jumpers for goalposts jest; I've been sidetracked by the thread on the Christmas truce footy. I was going to include the dead parrot cricket match at Vermelles but thought better of it. I think the forum software has a Monty Python alert system and I feared any mention of a dead parrot might set it off. I got into trouble over the Spanish Inquisition and have learned my lesson.

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Here's one for Rupert Brooke:

August 1914 applies for commission in Royal Naval Division

October 1914 takes part in defence of Antwerp, retreats to Bruges and returns to England.

27th Feb 1915 sets sail for the Med

28th March he's in Egypt, visiting the pyramids and catching dysentry.

10th April sets sail again towards Gallipoli.

23rd April dies of blood poisoning brought on by a mosquito bite.

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Excellent, Pete, and more than enough for my needs. Thanks too Dave.

Mike

I've got a very sketchy timeline underway for Blunden; as before it's currently long on literature but short on dates. I'll knock it into shape as best I can, post it and see if the Sussex posse can help fill in the gaps. When is your homework due to be handed in?

Pete.

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" When is your homework due to be handed in? "

You're a bit late for that, I reckon last time would have been about 20/5/1972

I'm sure Mr Marnoch will forgive me, and I'll put a good word in for you, for all your excellent help.

Mike

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