Monday, 10 March 2014

Rosaleen Graves (1894 - 1989) - British

Rosaleen is just one of the British women poets featured in Volume 2 of Female War Poets of the First World War. To find out more please see the website

I have written about Rosaleen Graves before but I can now bring you the finished wording that will go on the exhibition panel.  With many thanks to Sue of the wonderful website for suggesting I contact the British Red Cross, to the Red Cross for finding Rosaleen's WW1 service record and to Sally Ronchetti for the beautiful portrait of Rosaleen.

Rosaleen, sister of the WW1 soldier poet and writer Robert Graves, was born in Wimbledon on 7th March 1894.   Her father was Alfred Perceval Graves, the second son of The Rt. Rev. Charles Graves, Bishop of Limerick (1846 – 1931).  Alfred was a school inspector originally from Taunton, Somerset, and her mother was Amalie (‘Amy’) Elizabeth Sophie (or Sophia) von Ranke (1857 – 1951), eldest daughter of Professor Heinrich von Ranke MD, of Munich.  Rosaleen’s grandmother was the daughter of Norwegian astronomer Ludwig Tiarks.   Rosaleen’s father was an Anglo-Irish poet, born in Dublin.

Rosaleen was a poet and musician. She joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment on 17th September 1915 and, after initial training in Chislehurst and London, she was sent to No. 54 General Hospital in Wimereux, France on 23rd November 1917.  Rosaleen served in France until 14th March 1919.

No. 54 Hospital in Wimereux was one of the Base Hospitals known as "London General Hospital" and was in operation from July 1917 until May 1919. 

You can find a comprehensive description of the Base Hospitals in France and elsewhere during the First World War, by following the link

Rosaleen's poem "The Smells of Home" - which awakened my curiosity and made me find out more about Rosaleen - was first published in "The Spectator" on 30th November 1918 and is included on page 269 of the WW1 Anthology "The Winter of the World Poems of the First World War", edited by Dominic Hibberd and John Onions, published by Constable and Robinson Ltd., London, 2007.

After the War, Rosaleen trained as a doctor and worked as a GP in Devon.  In the Spring of 1932, Rosaleen married James Francis Cooper at St. Martin’s in London.  The couple had three children.

Among her published works are “Night Sounds and other poems”, published by Basil Blackwell in Oxford in 1923, “Snapdragons Poems“ by Rosaleen Graves Cooper and “The Silver Mirror. Breton Folk Air, words translated from the Breton by A.P. Graves and arranged by R. Graves (1928).

Rosaleen died on 3rd August 1989 in Wimbledon, London,  England.

Source:  Wikipedia and the British Red Cross

Sally Ronchetti, who drew the portrait of Rosaleen in her Red Cross VAD uniform, is an artist and qualified nurse from Cornwall.  Sally works mainly in graphite portraiture but also paints in oils and acrylics from time to time.  She accepts commissions.  You can see more of Sally’s beautiful work on