Monday, 10 October 2016

Teresa Hooley (1888 – 1973) – British

My thanks to John Seriot whose question about the poem “A War Film” prompted me to research Teresa who is on my list of Female Poets of the First World War and to Debbie Cameron who found Teresa's First World War work record card.

Teresa was born in Derbyshire in 1888.  Her parents were Terah Hooley (1839 – 1927), a lace manufacturer, and his second wife, Mary Eliza, nee Swaffield (1854 - 1928) who he married in 1883.

Teresa had two brothers and Ernest Terah Hooley, the financier was her half–brother.  Her brother Noel Joseph was born in 1885 and her brother Basil Terah Hooley was born in 1893.   Another brother, Paul Terah Hooley, died the year of his birth in 1899.

Basil served with the 7th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and was a tank commander at Amiens in 1918.  He was awarded the Military Medal in November 1918 for conspicuous gallantry, survived the war but died in the Influenza Epidemic of 1918. 

During the war, Teresa did her bit, working at home:

Teresa married Frank H. Butler in 1920 but the marriage does not appear to have lasted.

Teresa’s most famous poem “A War Film”, which is still in copyright but you can read  here, is the subject of much discussion, including this weblog

I agree with the writer that the poem would have been written during the 1920s.  Here’s why:

The “Old Contemptibles” Association (of which my Grandfather was a member and a President), was formed a few years after the end of the First World War in 1925.  

Although there were films shown during the conflict, the film “Mons” about the retreat from did not come out until 1926.
Teresa’s poem “A War Film” was included in her collection “Songs of all Seasons”, published by Jonathan Cape in 1927.

Her other collections were:

“Songs of the open”, published by Jonathan Cape in 1921; “Twenty-nine lyrics”, published by Jonathan Cape in 1924, “Collected Poems” published by Jonathan Cape in 1926 and “The singing heart”, published by Muller in 1944.

Sources:  Find my Past and Free Births, Marriages and Deaths; Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography", published by St. Martin's Press, New York in 1978.  Photo of Teresa's WW1 work record card kindly supplied by researcher Debbie Cameron.

NOTE:  “The Old Contemptibles” was the name given to the British professional soldiers who went to Belgium and France between August and November 1914.  They were awarded a special medal – The Mons Star.  The term was possibly coined by the British Propaganda Bureau who spread the word that Kaiser Wilhelm held the British Army in contempt, saying that his forces had been stopped by a “contemptible little army”.  Apparently this was not true but the name stuck and an Association of Old Contemptibles was formed in 1925.