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Remembered Today:

'Some Authors Who Swapped Pen For Sword'


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I thought the more literary-minded would appreciate this brief list of 'authors who exchanged pen for sword' found in 'The War Illustrated' of 1915. If anyone would care to offer further comment on any of the men listed, and whether they survived the war and went on to publish more work, then I would be glad to hear. There are a few names I recognise-and some I don't.

SOME AUTHORS WHO HAVE EXCHANGED PEN FOR SWORD

Capt. A.E.W. Mason, Manchester Regiment, the novelist and dramatist, author of ‘The Witness for the Defence’, ‘The Turnstile’, ‘Running Water’, ‘The Truants’, etc.

Lieut. W.B. Maxwell, Royal Fusiliers, author of the ‘Ragged Messenger’, ‘The Guarded Flame’, ‘In Cotton-Wool’, ‘The Devil’s Garden’, and other novels.

Capt. Horace Wyndham, whose novels mainly deal with the Army and the Stage; amongst them are ‘The Queen’s Service’, ‘The Call of the Drum’, ‘Limelight.’

Cpl. Hector Munro [‘Saki’], author of ‘The Chronicles of Clovis’, ‘The Unbearable Bassington’, ‘Beasts and Super-Beasts’, and many amusing social satires.

Lieut. Stephen Gwynn, B.A. M.P., Connaught Rangers, famous author and journalist, who has written over twenty boks, including novels, essays, and verse.

Mr. H. Cranmer Byng, the well-known writer and lecturer on Eastern literature and the author of ‘Chinese Poetry’.

Capt. Richard Jebb, King’s Shropshire L.I., author of ‘Studies in Colonial Nationalism’, ‘Twelve Months of Imperial Evolution’, ‘The Britannic Question’.

Lieut. Cosmo Hamilton, R.N.A.S., the well-known playwright and novelist, author of ‘The Blindness of Virtue’, ‘Mrs. Skeffington’, ‘The Wisdom of Folly’, ‘Keepers of the House’, etc.

Mr. John Masefield, the poet and novelist, is with the Red Cross. Two of his best-known works are ‘The Everlasting Mercy’, ‘The Widow in the Bye Street’.

Pte. Patrick Macgill, London Irish, famous as the ‘Navvy Poet’, who wrote ‘Songs of the Dead End’.

Pte. Oliver Onions, the well-known author of ‘The Complete Bachelor’, ‘Good Boy Seldom’, ‘Widdershins’, and other novels.

Capt. Desmond Coke, 10th Loyal N. Lancs. Regt., the author of ‘The Bending of a Twig’, ‘The Pedestal’.

Lieut. D. Clayton Calthrop, R.N.V.R., the author who has written and illustrated many picturesque works.

Lord Dunsany, R. Innis. Fus., author of ‘The Gods of Pegana’, and other poems and romantic plays.

Kind Regards,

Dave

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I think the publication of the list raises numerous questions. For a start, the high-flown and poetic language of exchanging pen for sword is curious and not accidental. Swords? The choice of word creates an image of chivalry, heroism and righteousness, somewhat removed from reality.

What was the purpose of publishing the list? What was its context: a bald list or within an article? What were the emotional and political demands which publishing the list was to satisfy? Is it to reflect the mobilisation of poets and writers on behalf of government, to strengthen public resolve and reinforce crude patriotism? Is it to underline the rightness of the cause by listing respected men who have joined fighting forces?

It arouses my curiosity in a vastly different way from whether these men survived or died. I find myself wondering what the agenda really was.

Gwyn

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Whoah Gwyn, I 'only arsked' :D

The War Illustrated is a 'twopenny weekly' not noted for its anti-militarist stance, and aimed at a more mature readership, but you're right, every page does present an image of soldiering that seems to reinforce the legitimacy of war without actually dealing with the realities, or the more horrific and unpleasant aspects of conflict. There is also an agenda, I'm sure, with the language and photos chosen being far from accidental, but should this really detract from my initial question, and if any of these men survived? If the answer is 'Yes', then please continue, and I would be very happy to join in, but it would also be nice to bear the men in mind.

Cheers,

Dave

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Dave

Here's one who managed a long and productive life - the entry for Oliver Onions from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

Onions, (George) Oliver (1873–1961), novelist, was born on 29 July 1873 at 37 Ripon Street, Bradford, Yorkshire, the eldest child of at least three children of George Frederick Onions, a cashier, and his wife, Emily Alice, née Fearnley. His interest in art took him to London and Paris to study, and he tried to make a living at posters, book designing, and similar work. It was poorly paid, so he turned to writing for periodicals. Sketches and other pieces were collected in The Complete Bachelor (1900), and short stories of Yorkshire written for magazines were collected in Tales from a Far Riding (1902) before he leapt, as he said, from the frying pan of journalism into the ‘fire of authorship’ with the autobiographical novel The Odd Job Man (1903).

The Odd Job Man was followed by a string of mostly realistic fictions: The Drakestone and Back o' the Moon (both 1906), Admiral Eddy (1907), Pedlar's Pack (1908), Draw in your Stool and Little Devil Doubt (both 1909). On 10 June 1909 Onions married the novelist Amy Roberta (Berta) Ruck (1878–1978). The Exception, a tale of blackmail, was published in 1910, and the supernatural work Widdershins followed in 1911. Widdershins gained him critical approval—he always maintained an uncritical popular readership by following the fashions—which the weakness of his next novel, Good Boy Seldom (1911), could not destroy.

Good Boy Seldom, like Little Devil Doubt, concerned an ambitious and not over-scrupulous young man, a favourite theme of Onions. He used it again in In Accordance with the Evidence (1912), a popular book that was followed by two more along the same rather sensational lines: The Debit Account (1913) and The Story of Louie (1914). They were successful in Britain, from Secker in London, and from Doran in New York. Frank Swinnerton and others liked their ‘veracity’, a term which at the time covered a multitude of sins (and exculpated some sinners, too).

The readership this trilogy established stuck with Onions through the rest of his busy career as he moderated his early preachiness (J. B. Priestley had complained of intrusive ‘author's remarks’ in a London Mercury review; Ashley, 233) , embraced topicality, titillated with somewhat sordid relationships, introduced new women and fellow authors as characters, toyed with psychological analysis, and entertained with historical novels and ghosts and misty moors. In 1918 Onions changed his name by deed poll to George Oliver, but by then he had established himself as a popular writer and all his work was signed both before and after that date Oliver Onions. Ever striving for success, he remained inventive—and industrious, although it was said that he ‘wrote with difficulty, even with anguish’, perhaps over-sensitive to adverse criticism of his work (The Times). Yet Onions published some forty books, including collections of short stories, ending with the posthumous A Shilling to Spend (1965).

A reviewer in The Atlantic hailed Onions in 1914 as ‘the cleverest’ and ‘the most advanced of the younger English novelists’ (Ashley, 233), but in the event, Onions had to compete with Conrad, Galsworthy, Joyce, Woolf, and D. H. Lawrence, among others. However, he entertained a public who did not read such giants of literature. When Onions died on 9 April 1961 at Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, British fiction had left him behind. The Poor Man's Tapestry (1946) is his best historical novel. The Collected Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions (1935) is his work most likely to last.

Leonard R. N. Ashley

Sue

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And from the same source - forgive me for not taking the time to replace all the original formatting:

Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (1864–1950), author and politician, was born on 13 February 1864 at St Columba's College in Rathfarnham, near Dublin, where his father was warden. He was the eldest of the eight children (six sons and two daughters) of John Gwynn (1827–1917), biblical scholar and Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Lucy Josephine (1840–1907), daughter of the Irish nationalist William Smith O'Brien. Shortly after Stephen's birth the family moved to Ramelton, co. Donegal, to which parish John Gwynn had been appointed parson; he later became dean of Raphoe (1873) and dean of Derry (1883), before returning to Trinity College, Dublin, where he became regius professor of divinity. Stephen Gwynn's early childhood in Donegal was to shape his later view of rural Ireland. As he wrote in his autobiography: ‘My life has been spent largely in an effort to understand Ireland, and that corner of Donegal has been the key to all my study’ (Gwynn, 18). He was educated at St Columba's College and at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was a scholar and was awarded first-class honours in classical moderations in 1884 and literae humaniores in 1886. Gwynn returned to Dublin during college holidays, where he met several of the political and literary figures of the day. His brother Edward John Gwynn (1868–1941) became provost of Trinity College, while another brother, Robert Malcolm Gwynn, became senior dean.

In December 1889 Gwynn married his cousin Mary Louisa (d. 1941), daughter of the Revd James Gwynn. She later converted to Catholicism, and they had two sons and two daughters, of whom Aubrey Gwynn (1892–1983) became a Jesuit priest and professor of medieval history at University College, Dublin, and Denis Rolleston Gwynn (1893–1971) was professor of modern Irish history at University College, Cork.

After graduating Gwynn spent some time tutoring in France, beginning a lifelong interest in French culture, later expressed in his In Praise of France (1927). During the ten years he spent as a schoolmaster (1886–96) he developed an interest in writing. In 1896 he became a writer and journalist in London, concentrating on English themes until he came into contact with the emerging Irish literary revival, serving as secretary of the Irish Literary Society. A long and prolific writing career followed, ranging over a variety of literary genres. Among his poems was A Lay of Ossian and Patrick (1903), concerned with the historical tension between paganism and Christianity in Ireland; a volume of Collected Poems was published in 1923. His many biographical subjects included studies of Tennyson (1899), Thomas More (1904), Scott of the Antarctic (1929), Mary Kingsley and Horace Walpole (both 1932), Swift (1933), Oliver Goldsmith (1935), Henry Grattan (1939), Robert Louis Stevenson (1939), Sir Walter Scott (1930), and an important work on the career of John Redmond from the 1890s until his death entitled John Redmond's Last Years (1919). This, and the full biography of the former Irish leader later written by Gwynn's son Denis, contributed to later historians' more positive reappraisal of Redmond.

Gwynn also wrote general historical works on Irish and English subjects, making the eighteenth century his particular specialism. He wrote numerous books on travel and topography, mainly upon his own homeland: reviewing The Fair Hills of Ireland (1906), the playwright J. M. Synge commended his ‘excellent patriotic spirit, kept in check by a scholarly urbanity’ (Manchester Guardian, 16 Nov 1906). His Irish Literature and Drama in the English Language (1936) was a pioneering guide to the topic. Perhaps his most cited remark—and one which captures his ambivalence about the temper of his times—came from another piece of literary criticism: after seeing Yeats's Cathleen ni Houlihan he ‘went home asking myself if such plays should be produced unless one was prepared to go out to shoot and be shot’ (cited in F. Tuohy, Yeats, 1976, 129) . He also wrote about his other interests—including wine, eighteenth-century painting, and fishing.

Gwynn returned to Ireland in 1904 and entered politics. In a by-election in November 1906 he won a seat for Galway City, which he represented as a nationalist until 1918. He was one of the few Irish party MPs to have close links with the literary revival, was active in the Gaelic League, and helped to found the Dublin publishing house of Maunsel and Company. A supporter of the campaign for a Catholic university, Gwynn served on the Irish University royal commission in 1908. He was involved in a controversy over the demand for Irish as a compulsory subject for matriculation: although a member of the governing body of the Gaelic League, he was opposed to this.

During the debate surrounding the third Home Rule Bill, Gwynn wrote The Case for Home Rule (1911) at the request of his party leader, Redmond. On the outbreak of the First World War he strongly supported Redmond's encouragement of Irish nationalists to support the British war effort. Now over fifty, he enlisted in January 1915 as a private in the 7th Leinsters in the 16th (Irish) division, and was made a captain of the 6th Connaught Rangers that July, serving at Messines, the Somme, and elsewhere. He was one of seven Irish nationalist MPs to join up; his brother Charles and his son Denis did likewise. Together with Tom Kettle and William Redmond, Gwynn undertook a recruitment drive for the British army. He collaborated with Kettle on a collection of ballads called Battle Songs for the Irish Brigade (1915), contributing ‘The Last Brigade, 1914’, which Kettle's biographer has termed ‘a fervid recruiting appeal in fifteen uninspired stanzas’ (Lyons, 276). Later in his life he expressed in verse his appreciation of those Irish who participated in the Second World War, in a poem entitled ‘Salute to Valour’ (1941). He was made a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in July 1915.

Returning to Ireland in the spring of 1917, Gwynn participated in the Irish Convention, an attempt chaired by Sir Horace Plunkett to achieve consensus on a home rule settlement for Ireland which would avoid partition. When Redmond died in 1918, Gwynn took over as leader of the moderate nationalists in the convention. He opposed the attempt to impose compulsory military service in Ireland in 1918 but when the government announced that it would not be enforced if Ireland provided 50,000 recruits voluntarily in six months he joined the Irish Recruiting Council to try to meet the demand, encountering intense opposition led by Sinn Féin. In 1918 he formed the Irish Centre Party and stood unsuccessfully as an independent nationalist for Dublin University in the general election at the end of that year. The party subsequently merged with Plunkett's Irish Dominion League, but Gwynn broke with the league over his willingness to accept partition as a temporary compromise. Gwynn's brand of moderate, cultural nationalism was increasingly sidelined by the polarization of opinion brought about by the War of Independence and civil war. He supported the newly emergent nation, but condemned some of the excesses—as in his letter to The Observer on 4 February 1923 to protest against burning houses belonging to Free State senators.

From 1919 Gwynn devoted himself to writing, covering political events in the War of Independence in 1919–20 for The Times and becoming a weekly correspondent for The Observer. Among the substantial works he wrote not hitherto noticed were his History of Ireland (1923) and his autobiography, Experiences of a Literary Man (1926). In 1940 he was awarded an honorary DLitt from the National University of Ireland and another from the University of Dublin in 1945. In April 1950 the Irish Academy of Letters awarded him the Gregory medal. He died at his co. Dublin home—Temple Hill, Kimmage Road East, Terenure—on 11 June 1950 and was buried at Tallaght cemetery on 12 June.

Gwynn was described as fair, blue-eyed, somewhat taller than average, and ‘lean but not thin’ (DNB). Although he was not ultimately a major literary figure, he nevertheless stood for a humanism and tolerance that were qualities relatively rare in the Ireland of his day; the author J. B. Lyons has called him ‘intellectually and physically fearless’ (Lyons, 87).

Carla King

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And one for luck :rolleyes:

Plunkett, Edward John Moreton Drax, eighteenth Baron Dunsany (1878–1957), writer, was born on 24 July 1878 at 15 Park Square, Regent's Park, London, the son of John William Plunkett, seventeenth Baron Dunsany (1853–1899), MP for South Gloucestershire (1886–92), and his wife, Ernle Elizabeth Louisa Maria Grosvenor Burton (d. 1916), daughter of Colonel Francis Augustus Plunkett Burton, of the Coldstream Guards. The Burtons were distant relatives of the Dunsany family and of Sir Richard Burton. Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax was Plunkett's younger brother.

After a first-rate education at Cheam School, Eton College, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Plunkett entered the Coldstream Guards in 1889 and served as a junior officer in Gibraltar and in the South African War. He succeeded as eighteenth Baron Dunsany on his father's death in 1899 and on 15 September 1904 he married Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers (1880–1970), daughter of the seventh earl of Jersey; they had one son. In 1905 Dunsany published The Gods of Pegana, the first of his many books of dreamlike stories. Unsuccessful in his bid to become MP for Wiltshire in the parliamentary election of 1906, and encouraged by W. B. Yeats, AE, and others, he took up literature rather than politics. The general public liked the gentleman author better than the critics did. His popular short stories include the thriller ‘A Night at an Inn’ and the shocking ‘Two Bottles of Relish’. With their ‘sting in the tail’ endings, they were applauded for their plot twists. Most of Dunsany's fiction, however, gets by on his graceful escapism and the fairy-tale qualities found even in his easy, genteel essays on life and literature.

Dunsany's plays were sometimes recycled from his short stories and longer fiction. Though slightly fey, they could be focused, for Dunsany had a firm grasp of the theatrical. The Glittering Gate, in which two burglars go to heaven and find nothing within but laughter, was performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1909. It was his first contribution to the Irish theatre movement. The Abbey also staged King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior in 1911. London premières were given to The Gods of the Mountain (1911) and The Golden Doom (1912). The Gods of the Mountain is perhaps Dunsany's best tragedy. In it a group of beggars impersonate the gods who turn them to stone for their insolence. The populace imagines it is their unbelief that has killed them and they beg forgiveness of the new idols. Some of his plays were also staged by amateur theatres and opened in the provinces: The Lost Silk Hat premièred in Manchester in 1913 and The Tents of the Arabs in Liverpool in 1914. Dunsany's Five Plays were collected in 1914.

During the First World War, Dunsany served as captain with the 5th Inniskilling fusiliers in France and was wounded during the Easter rising in 1916. He continued to write and publish: Fifty-One Tales appeared in 1915 and Tales of War in 1918. A number of his plays were first staged in the United States, including A Night at an Inn and The Queen's Enemies (New York, 1916), Laughter of the Gods (New York, 1919), and The Murderers (Indianapolis, 1919). These dramas came from an age in which productions, even with exotic settings and costumes, were relatively inexpensive to mount and tickets were affordable for most audiences. Dunsany warned critics not to dig too deep into his works, which were meant (he said) simply to entertain. Yet those who dig find more intellectual substance than expected lying underneath the grotesque and the fanciful or the sentimental.

Dunsany lived with his wife at Dunstall Priory in Kent, but he wrote about his Irish estates, including a castle in co. Meath, and about the ascendancy's sports of hunting, shooting, and fishing. The land of the little people, leprechauns, fairies, and banshees continually fascinated him. Dunsany thought of himself chiefly as a poet, but his poetry was not much better than his amateur pottery. He published seven volumes of verse as well as a collected edition, and T. S. Eliot (whom he thought inferior to Walter de la Mare) appreciated his technical mastery. Yet Dunsany's verse was more gossamer than good; fame, which Dunsany portrayed in his play Fame and the Poet (1924) as a cheap Cockney harridan, eluded him on that score.

From his excellent first novel, The Chronicles of Rodriguez (1922), Dunsany showed more promise in fantastic novels of mauve, if not purple, prose. Set in elfland and the spirit world of Welleran with gods older than human history, these chronicle the strange journeys of his eccentric characters Joseph Jorkens (who claimed to have wedded a mermaid) and Colonel Polders. His hero of the age of Don Quixote looks through magic windows into the past and the future and, thanks to a magician, visits distant planets. Joseph Wood Cotton found all this rosy romance too easy and compared Dunsany to a little old lady who cheats at solitaire.

Dunsany's plays continued to be produced throughout the 1920s, including If and Cheezo (1921), His Sainted Grandmother (1926), The Jest of Hahalaba, and Mr Faithful (1927). These imaginative works were easily adapted for broadcast to attentive radio fans. Dunsany described his life in such novels as The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933) and in autobiographical works in the 1930s: My Ireland (1937) and Patches of Sunlight (1938). He liked to pose as a prolific amateur, dashing off fantasies with a quill pen, but he was Byron professor of English literature at the University of Athens from 1940 to 1941, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of the Irish (and other) academies. He was also president of the Authors' Society and a recipient of an honorary DLitt from Trinity College, Dublin (1940), and of the Harmsworth literary award. He published two further autobiographical pieces during the Second World War: While the Sirens Slept (1944) and The Sirens Wake (1945).

In Dunsany's only science fiction novel, The Last Revolution (1951), computers grow so intelligent they turn on their masters. What is man to do when his technological creatures attain the ability to think for themselves and to reproduce themselves? Having created fairy worlds all his life, ‘in The Last Revolution, Dunsany toys with a dystopia’ (Ashley, 153). His contribution to science fiction, small but significant, has never been properly assessed, nor has his later influence on television and cinema fantasies. While snobbery had something to do with a lord of Ireland becoming a lord of literature, Dunsany nevertheless possessed a vivid imagination and an entrancing if mannered style, and, in his day, he enjoyed a loyal and enchanted public.

While dining with friends at Dunsany Castle, Dunsany had an attack of appendicitis and after an unsuccessful operation died at 97 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, on 25 October 1957. He was buried at Shoreham, Kent.

Leonard R. N. Ashley

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Whoah Gwyn, I 'only arsked' :D

... There is also an agenda, I'm sure, with the language and photos chosen being far from accidental, but should this really detract from my initial question, and if any of these men survived? If the answer is 'Yes', then please continue, and I would be very happy to join in, but it would also be nice to bear the men in mind.

Sorry I spoke. I'll know to keep my inquiring mind to myself in future.

I didn't say that your query was any less valid than mine. I was simply following the direction in which the information took me. It could have been interesting.

Gwyn

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Many Thanks Sue,

The Oxford National Biography seems like an invaluable source of information, and one of the book titles which really caught my attention was 'Widdershins' and what it actually meant. 'The Truants' [A.E.W. Mason] was another, along with the name bestowed on Patrick Macgill, and that of the 'Navvy Poet'. I'm just going to go and have a bit of a Google now for more on the 'Navvy Poet', and a definition of 'Widdershins'. I'm hoping there is also something on Onions' earlier work on poster design. I wonder if Bradford know they have another famous son? I'd best keep it quiet-I'm from Leeds

Kind Regards,

Dave

PS: I've just noticed a couple more postings. Now you're really spoiling me Sue.

Cheers,

Dave

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Hello Gwyn,

I've just caught your response, and I don't understand what the problem is. Go ahead, by all means, and let's broaden the debate-I look forward to learning something in the process.

Kind Regards,

Dave

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I'm on a roll now... B)

Jebb, Richard (1874–1953), publicist and theorist on imperial themes, was born at The Lyth, Ellesmere, Shropshire, on 16 October 1874, the second son in the family of two sons and five daughters of Arthur Trevor Jebb (1839–1894), landowner, and his wife, Eglantyne Louisa (a distant cousin), daughter of Robert Jebb of Killiney, Ireland. The philanthropists Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Frances Buxton, and the agricultural administrator Louisa Wilkins, were his sisters. His uncle was the classical scholar Sir Richard Jebb. His family had been landowners in Wales and Shropshire. He was educated at Marlborough College and at New College, Oxford, where he obtained second classes in classical honour moderations (1895) and literae humaniores (1897). His interest in the British empire was stimulated by a schoolmaster's setting for a Latin essay prize a subject involving imperial federation. He won the prize, and made the empire his principal concern for the rest of his life.

Jebb intended to join the Indian Civil Service, but while he was at Oxford his father and his only brother died, and he inherited the family estate, which provided him with an income for the rest of his life. On 29 September 1900 he married Margaret Ethel (d. 1949), daughter of George Lewthwaite of Littlebank, Settle, with whom he had two sons and one daughter. The years 1898–1901 were spent in travel abroad, mainly in the self-governing colonies. He made many journeys on a bicycle, including a honeymoon trip the length of the north island of New Zealand. The colonial experience gave him material for his propositions about colonial nationalism, the subject which he quickly made his own.

In 1905 Jebb published Studies in Colonial Nationalism, the book which brought him into public notice. A fervent follower of the tariff reform movement of Joseph Chamberlain, he began to write leaders and articles for the Morning Post under the editorship of his friend Fabian Ware; in 1906 he wrote articles for it during the course of a journey through Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

At the general election of January 1910 Jebb made his only attempt to enter parliament, contesting the seat of East Marylebone as a Unionist with tariff-reform beliefs; the official Unionist candidate won, with a Liberal second and Jebb third. He took no further part in party politics, confining himself to local bodies: he was a magistrate and served on the Shropshire county council from 1923 to 1934. He continued to express firm opinions in letters to newspapers, but seems to have lost faith in parliamentary institutions, even toying with fascism and social credit. In the First World War he served from 1914 to 1919 in the King's Shropshire light infantry, mostly in Britain, and in the Second World War he commanded the Ellesmere company of the Home Guard.

Jebb's books included the two-volume The Imperial Conference (1911), The Britannic Question (1913), The Empire in Eclipse (1926), and His Britannic Majesty (1935). In May 1914 he had apparently financed a journal, the Britannic Review, but it did not survive the outbreak of war in August. The Imperial Conference received much public notice, but the other books did not.

Jebb's ideas were relatively simple. He saw that there was a sentiment which he called colonial nationalism, which was not merely separatism, but a complex of local feeling and attachment to Britain. Imperial federationists and the Round Table group headed by Lionel Curtis did not understand the strength of this sentiment: their proposals, not taking account of it, would therefore fail. Jebb favoured a system of alliance or partnership between Britain and what came to be known as the dominions: he approved of separate dominion navies in co-operation with the Royal Navy; he wanted tariff reform and imperial preference as means of binding the dominions more closely; and he wanted the Imperial Conference turned into a continuous body handling large defence and economic questions. Jebb died peacefully at his home, The Lyth, on 25 June 1953.

J. D. Miller, rev.

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This is much appreciated Sue,

There is something to be said of Jebb's ideas, in that many in the 'domnion' and commonwealth countries did enlist when Britain went to war, and with regard to the Royal Navy, the cooperation between this branch of the services and other countries is evident in the 'friendlies' which are periodically carried out under trials and manoeuvres. However, this does not hide the fact there there still remains a general air of supriority, but I suppose this is a legacy or throwback to the days of empire, and a belief the 'Britannia ruled the waves.'

Many Thanks,

Dave

Looked up 'Widdershins', and it seems that there is an anthology of Onions' work.

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Hi Dave

Just had a look at K.S.L.I. History index but there is no mention of Richard Jebb, there is a Mrs Jebb, who was commandant of a V.A.D. hospital at Leintwardine but I do not know if she is related to Richard Jebb.

Annette

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Thanks Annette,

He seems to be wearing the capbadge and collar dogs of the KSLI, and the references at the foot of page 568 accredit the 'portraits' to 'Lafayette, Hoppe, Elliot and Fry, Russell', with those of Lord Dunsany and Patrick MacGill being reproduced courtesy of 'Elkins Mathews and the Year Book Press'. I don't know if these sound familiar, and I'm sorry I can't scan the pictures, but maybe someone with access to 'The War Illustrated' CD would be good enough to post a copy of Capt. Richard Jebb [31-7-1915 p. 568]

Kind Regards,

Dave

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You maybe knew the fate of this one:

Name: MUNRO, HECTOR HUGH

Initials: H H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lance Serjeant

Regiment/Service: Royal Fusiliers

Unit Text: "A" Coy. 22nd Bn.

Age: 45

Date of Death: 14/11/1916

Service No: 225

Additional information: Younger son of the late Col. Charles Augustus Munro (Bengal Staff Corps), and Mary Frances Munro. An Author ("Saki"), Special Correspondent and Journalist. Enlisted in 1914.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 8 C 9 A and 16 A.

Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

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Thanks DMcNay,

I have heard of 'Saki', but I'm fairly new to the literary side of things, and the literary experience of war, so I don't know a great deal, and I need to do a fair bit of catching up. My own interests lay in a slightly earlier period, and a theoretical approach to class and social space, although I have touched-upon the First World War, and that of the postwar years. However, it's not enough though to offer expert opinion, and any help is greatly received.

Cheers,

Dave

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Dave,

I have only just received my copy of 'The Lost Voices of World War I - An international anthology of writers, poets and playwrights' put together by Tim Cross and published by Bloomsbury, way back in 1988.

Fifty-odd writers from all fronts and from both sides of the firing line with a short biography of each author and two or three examples of his work each time. I am just dipping into it at the moment but first impressions are that it looks to be very good value.

Interesting topic this

Michael

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Thanks Michael,

This seems the ideal introduction, and I like the idea of the broader perspective and the inclusion of those who are receiving their first translation. The list of those who died is an added benefit too, along with the price, which seems to be in my budget.

Thanks for the tip,

Dave

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You should try reading some Saki, Dave (at risk of concentrating on him to the exclusion of everyone else).

I'd like to find a biography as he appears to have been a class warrior stuck in a class he couldn't stand (hence why he enlisted as an OR rather than getting a commision IIRC). He also had a savagely wicked sense of humour - "The Unrest Cure" is one of the funniest and least-PC things I've read in years, and I still have to work out just who the anti-semite is in the story - the writer, the characters, me for laughing, or is the whole point that it is setting the anti-semites up to be ridiculed? Clovis is a comic character to be rejoiced in IMO.

(If Gwyn reappears, I may be in trouble for the ghastly construction of that sentence).

Adrian

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Many Thanks Adrian,

With the exception of perhaps Owen and Sassoon, and a couple more that I am aware of, such as Munro and Graves, is there evidence of other friendships within what seems a very small and tight group of poets and artists...I think it unlikely, given the difference in age and background, but it would be nice to speculate on the relationship between 'Saki' and Isaac Rosenberg, for instance. I don't know, maybe they did know each other, but what a nice combination--Jew and possible anti-Semite--in words only, I'm sure.

Cheers,

Dave

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Munro's last words are alleged to have been "Put out that bloody cigaret!" just before the sniper got him.

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I do not know Saki's 'The Unrest Cure' but regarding his prejudices, the collection which I mentioned earlier has a 3 page biographical sketch of him by Dominic Hibberd which offers the following regarding 'When William Came' (1913). This was Munro's 'invasion' novel describing England after the conquest by Germany. "...London society is beginning to acquiesce in the fait accompli. It is soon obvious that some of his earlier humour had been based on prejudices as popular then as they are unattractive now. The foreign names and references to Jews in his stories, for example, become an open statement that London's Englishness has been undermined by the international character of modern art and the presence of foreigners, especially cosmopolitan German-Jews."

Interesting that Rosenberg, whose first job was as an engraver, had studied art at the Slade; so he fitted two of Munro's prejudices?

regards

Michael

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How uncanny,

a friend of mine said the same thing, and suggested it may have also had something to do with the 'third light' superstition. I wonder if there's any basis in this? It sounds to me like something the ARP also used in WWII: 'Put that b****y light out'.

Cheers,

Dave

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How uncanny,

a friend of mine said the same thing, and suggested it may have also had something to do with the 'third light' superstition.

I believe that it had its origin there.

First light, sniper notices the light

Second light sniper aims

Third light sniper fires.

Makes sense.

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Cheers Michael,

It does make sense, but it always surprises me how some notables are always accredited with saying something profound in their last breath, while 'us' unfortunates just go about the business of dying--however gruesome or otherwise. Are there any other examples of immortal lines that add to the mythology of the literary war?

Kind Regards,

Dave

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As I said previously, I'm just dipping into this newly arrived book ['The Lost Voices of World War I - An international anthology of writers, poets and playwrights' put together by Tim Cross and published by Bloomsbury, way back in 1988.] However, so far, amongst those I have enjoyed are 'The Trench Mortar Officer' - a field impression by the Australian, Adrian Consent Stephen (1892-1918) and the satirical poem 'Medal' by the Bulgarian, Dimcho Debelyanov (1887-1916) this latter appeals to the lefty-republican in me.

For a writer who straddles both sides of the firing line then how about the Hungarian, Ferenc Bekassy (1893-1915). From the brief bio by Peter Sherwood;

"Born in an old, aristocratic Hungarian family at Kiszsennye (county Vas) on 7 April 1893, Ferenc Istvan Denes Gyula Bekassy was educated in England. He was one of six of the Bekassy children to receive an English schooling and went to Bedales in 1905 with his younger brother John, who later settled in England and married into the Wedgwood family of Barlaston. Ferenc Bekassy read history at King's College, Cambridge taking a BA in 1914: 'The aim of education is to create, by means of circumstance, men and women independent of circumstance.' At King's he befriended John Maynard Keynes (who visited Bekassy in Hungary in the summer of 1913) and became a member of the exclusive debating society know as The Apostles. Bekassy possessed a keenly analytical mind but was aware of the dangers inherent in developing one of his talents at the expense of others:

There are those whose character is not so far developed as their minds; these are the breakers of values.

But those whose minds are less developed than their characters; these are the conservers of values.

And he alone, in whom mind and character are one, is the Creator of new Values.

Bekassy does not seem to have been overawed by his Cambridge experience. As an outsider, he seems to have acquired a refreshing view of the academic scene: 'A doctor of nervous diseases gains more and more insight into human character, yet the more he knows, the more wrong is his judgement of it, for the less he is able to consider anything in it that is not morbid. You Cambridge knowers of men! This is how you have insight.'

When the major European powers mobilized their armies, Bekassy, with Keynes's help, avoided internment, returned home and volunteered for military service. In analysing his fear of dying young, Bekassy wrote:

It is not actual life, but the prospect of variety, that makes me want to live. Everything in me is just beginning to develop its nature; my every future instant is to be different from this one. When all my qualities are static and my whole being determinate, even though I may be still quite active, I shall not prefer life to death, or only because I do not like breaking habits and putting a stop to old relations with people.

As lieutenant of a Hussar regiment he fell at Dobronoutz in Bukovina on 25th June 1915. Only at the insistence of Keynes was a plaque to Bekassy's memory secured in King's College Chapel. Although in the same side-chapel as his fellow students who fought with the Allies, his name is carved into the stone wall to one side of the main plaque. 'These Cambridge people have little to do with me; they merely know more or less what I am like.'

Though only 22 when he died, Bekassy left behind two volumes of poetry, one of prose, and one of literary criticism, letters to J. M. Keynes, Noel Olivier, James Strachey and J. T. Sheppard as well as a great deal of poetry in English, a selection of which appeared in 1925 from the Hogarth Press of Leonard and Virginia Woolf. In his Preface to this, F. L. Lucas wrote of the 'unique and fascinating thing about him; his gift for being outside and inside himself almost at the same time', and, indeed in some perspective that must have acquired an excruciating dimension when he found himself on the opposite side to his fellow-students in the war. In an anguished article the greatest Hungarian critic of the century, Mihaly Babits, mourned Bekassy's loss and berated himself for an over-magisterial response to the teenager's Hungarian poems when Bekassy first sent them to him from Cambridge. He found in them a unique welding of the voice of Shelly and Keats with that of the Hungarian classical poets Arany and Vorosmarty, and thought they would have given Hungarian lyrical poetry a much-needed impetus: 'had he lived, Bekassy could have become a very great Hungarian poet.' "

And for the tragic, then how about Georg Trakl (1887-1914) born at Salzburg?

from Michael Hamburger's bio:

"Late in August 1914 Trakl left Innsbruck for Galicia as a lieutenant attached to the Medical Corps of the Austrian Army. After the battle of Grodek, he was put in charge of ninety serious casualties whom - as a mere dispensing chemist hampered by the shortage of medical supplies - he could do almost nothing to help. One of the wounded shot himself through the head in Trakl's presence. Outside the barn where the casualties were housed, a number of deserters had been hanged on trees. It was more than Trakl could bear. He either threatened or attempted suicide, with the result that he was removed to Cracow for observation as a mental case. His last poems 'Klage' ('Lament') and 'Grodek' were written at this time.

He now feared that he too would be executed as a deserter. According to the medical authorities at Cracow, he was under treatment for dementia praecox (schizophrenia); but the treatment consisted of being locked up in a cell together with another officer suffering from delirium tremens. During this confinement, Ludwig von Ficker visited Trakl and asked Wittgenstein, who had also served in Poland, to look after Trakl; but Wittgenstein arrived too late. After a few weeks of anguish, Trakl took an overdose of cocaine of which he died on 3 or 4 November 1914. He was 27 years of age."

Nothing I have read so far suggests anything other than that this book was a very good buy

But, how one would take this further and get hold of the rest of the works of all these people (and also in translation) I have no idea – over to you Dave

regards

Michael

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