Tuesday, 3 October 2023

Ruth Collie, née Ruth Jacobs, (1888 - 1936) - British-born poet who started her writing career in Winnipeg, Manitoba – whose pen names were Wilhelmina Stitch and Sheila Rand

With thanks to Stanley Kaye (the Poppy Man) for finding this poet for us.  

Ruth Jacobs was born in November 1888 in Cambridge, UK. She was the eldest of three children born to Isiah Wolf Jacobs, a bookseller and accountant, and his wife, Josephine Jacobs, nee Hast. Her maternal grandfather was Marcus Hast, a Hebrew composer who spent 40 years as Rabbi at the Great Synagogue of London.

In 1908, Ruth's future husband, Elisha Arakie Cohen, a lawyer who worked for the firm Daly, Crichton and McClure in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, travelled to England where he met  Ruth. They were married and returned to Winnipeg. In 1910 their son - Ralph - was born.

In 1913, Ruth began writing book reviews for the “Winnipeg Telegram” using the pen name Sheila Rand. In 1917 she was hired as an editor and regularly published poems and short stories. By January 1919, the “Telegram” was in financial trouble and she was recruited by the “Winnipeg Tribune”, where she started to write a column called "What to Read... and What Not." The column included book reviews and also poems she wrote. 

Following the death of her husband in March 1919, Ruth began working at Eaton's, writing advertising copy for their catalogues. She continued to write for the “Tribune” and became literary editor of “Western Home Monthly”. She was also elected vice-president of the Canadian Authors' Association, which led to regular speaking engagements. In 1922, Ruth signed a deal to publish her poetry in several North American newspapers and began to write under a new pen name, Wilhelmina Stitch.

In 1923 Ruth moved back to England to further her son's education. He became a  professor of economics. In 1924, she married Frank Collie, a physician from Scotland. Ruth resumed her writing career and submitted poetry to the “London Daily Graphic”. Her daily poetry earned her the nickname, "the poem a day lady." Her poetry made her name well known and she was regularly called on to speak for community groups. In 1930, Ruth went on a two-month speaking tour of North America where she spoke every day for 50 days.

Ruth died in London in 1936 after a brief illness at the age of 48. 

Memorial plaque dedicated to Ruth Collie under her pen name Wilhelmina Stitch at Golders Green Crematorium. Photograph by Stanley Kaye. 


FOR thirteen years, 

Each first of June, 

We marked our heights upon the schoolroom door. 

With girlish jeers, 

Each first of June, 

I scoffed, O cousin, you must grow still more 

If you would be as tall as I 

Next first of June ! 

My solemn, pale-faced cousin, Fie ! 

To let me win the race. 


Ah me! To-day, 

This first of June, 

They wrote that you in Flanders found a grave. 

So now I say, 

This first of June,   

‘O pale-faced cousin, sleeping with the brave, 

Would I could grow as tall as you 

Next first of June, 

And stride, as British heroes do, 

With head above the clouds!’ 

From: “Canadian Poems of the Great War.” Edited by John W. Garvin, (McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1918) – page 184. 

As this WW1 Anthology is available to read as a free download on Archive, you can also read other poems by Ruth published in that volume on pages 183 – 186. 


Other sources:  Find my Past, Free BMD and Wikipedia. 


Portrait of Ruth taken  by Howard Coster National Portrait Gallery NPG x93858


Howard Sydney Musgrave Coster (27 April 1885 – 17 November 1959) was a British photographer. After serving in the RAF during WW1, he opened a studio in London in 1926. 

Friday, 21 July 2023

Enid B. Petre (1890 - 1962) – Britsh poet

With grateful thanks to Historian, Writer and Poet AC Benus* for reminding me that, although Enid Petre was already on the List of Female Poets of the First World War, I had not yet researched and written  a post about her.  

Enid Beatrice Petre was born on 3rd March 1890 in Aligarh, Bengal, India. Her parents were Francis Loraine Petre, a civil servant who worked in India, and his wife, Maude Ellen Petre, nee Rawlinson, who were married in Bengal in 1887. 

In the 1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census, the family were living at No. 27, Gledhow Gardens, Kensington, London, UK.  

During the First World War, Enid served as a nurse with the British Red Cross as a VAD from 19th November 1917 until 28th February 1918.   According to her WW1 British Red Cross VAD Record Card, it seems that Enid worked at the Royal Free Military Hospital in London.

On the 1921 Census, Enid is recorded as living at No. 25 Golborne Street in Kensington, London, UK.  

Enid died on 13th October 1962.

Enid’s WW1 poetry collections were:

“Autumn Leaves, 1915” (A.L. Humphreys, 1916)

“Fallen Petals: Poems” (A.L. Humphreys, 1917)

Sources:  Find my Past




Catherine W. Reilly, “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 252

*AC Benus is the author of a book about German WW1 poet Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele : “The Thousandth Regiment: A Translation of and Commentary on Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele’s War Poems” by AC Benus (AC Benus, San Francisco, 2020). Along with Hans's story, the book includes original poems as well as translations.    ISBN: 978-1657220584


Saturday, 1 July 2023

Daisy Minnie Hannah Jones (1895 - 1980) – British poet

 A wonderful poem posted on the Facebook Group Cemeteries and Memorials of the Great War by Dave Barlee, on 26 June 2023 

Dave is Daisy’s grandson.  He gave me permission and sent me some poems plus some information about and a photograph of Daisy.  Dave tells us:

“Daisy penned this poem in September 1914 to my grandfather, William John Jones, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards:

“To W.J.J.”

When across the foaming billows

To a near, but foreign shore

When with all equipment laden

You are marching off to war :-

N’ere forget that one is thinking

Thinking of you far away

Praying that from midst wars rampant 

Safely you’ll return one day

x x x x x x 

When you are in the midst of dangers

And around you comrades fall

When with still undaunted courage 

You are answering duty’s call

Think that there’s one in England 

Who doth for you wait, and pray

That through all encircling dangers 

Safely you’ll return one day

x x x x x x 

When the war at last is ended

And the longed for reign of peace

Over- throws his welcome mantle

And the noise of battles cease:-

Even then shall one be thinking

Thinking of you day by day

Counting how long you’ll be coming

From the war field far away

x x x x x x

A poem from Daisy's notebook
in her own handwriting

Born Daisy Minnie Hannah Cook in Epsom in 1895, when Daisy left school she went into service. She was 19 when she wrote to William John Jones, who had been called back to the colours at the start of the war. I’m not sure where she met him as he was from Neath in South Wales. I presume it must have been when he was in the London area when he joined the Grenadier Guards.

William had served his time by 1916 and was discharged and continued with his job as a steel worker. They moved to Deeside, Flinshire, North Wales. After the death of William, Daisy remarried and became Daisy Thomas. She died in Flintshire in 1980.  

Grandmother was fantastic with her hands and made lace and could do macrame and tatting and was a seamstress too. As I said - a clever lady! 

She wrote quite a lot of poetry in her younger days. The above poems are related to the Great War.”

Additional information:

We find Daisy, married to William John Jones, living in Flintshire, Wales.  By then the couple had a son – Elwyn Idris - and a daughter – Glenys May. 

Original source:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1609379815967794/posts/3439766769595747/?comment_id=3439806112925146&notif_id=1687776804567816&notif_t=group_comment_mentionFacebook Group Cemeteries and Memorials of the Great War 

You can find out more about the importance of cigarettes for the troops fighting on the various Fronts during WW1 here:


Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Ruth Pitter, CBE (1897 - 1992) – British poet and artist

Ruth was born Emma Thomas Ruth Pitter in Ilford, Essex, UK on 7th November 1897. However, her birth certificate records her Christian name as just being "Ruth."  Her parents were George Pitter and his wife, Louisa Pitter, nee Murrell, who were both primary school teachers.  Ruth was educated at the Coborn School for Girls in London. 

During the First World War, Ruth was employed at the War Office from 1915 to 1917. She went on to work as an artist at a furniture company in Suffolk -Walberswick Peasant Pottery Co.

Ruth’s parents encouraged her to write poetry from an early age.  In 1920, she published her first collection of poems – “First Poems” (London: Cecil Palmer, 1920) - with the help of the poet Hilaire Belloc.

Ruth was the first woman to receive the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, which she was awarded in 1955. In 1979 she was appointed appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), to honour her many contributions to English literature.  In 1974, Ruth was named a "Companion of Literature", the highest honour given by the Royal Society of Literature.

After a long and very industrious life during which she published a good deal of her poems, Ruth died on 29th February 1992.

(NOTE; Prisca Coborn or Cobourne (1622-1701), the widow of a Bow brewer, left property at Bow, Stratford, and Bocking (Essex) to maintain a school for not more than 50 poor children at Bow; the boys were to learn reading, writing, and accounts, and the girls reading, writing, and needlework. The Coopers' Girls' School at 86 Bow Road was renamed Coborn School and moved to new buildings at 31-33 Bow Road, London, E 3 in 1898.)

Sources:  Free BMD, Find my Past 




Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Ethel Turner (1870 – 1958) - British-born Australian novelist, poet and children's literature writer.

My grateful thanks to Rupert Brooke Remembered on Facebook, for posting the poem about Rupert Brooke written by Ethel , with additional information about Ethel on https://www.facebook.com/rupertbrookepoet which enabled me to amend my previous mentions of Ethel.  

Born Ethel Mary Burwell on 24th January 1870 in Balby, a suburb of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, UK, her parents were Bennett George Burwell, who was a commercial traveller (salesman), and his wife, Sarah Jane Burwell, nee Shaw. Ethel’s father died when she was two, leaving a Sarah Jane a widow with two daughters - Ethel and her sister Lillian, who was born in 1867.  Following her remarriage to Henry Turner, who was 20 years her senior and had six children of his own, Sarah Jane and Henry had a daughter, Rose. Henry Turner died suddenly, leaving Sarah Jane with nine children. In 1879, Sarah Jane moved to Australia with Lilian, Ethel and Rose.  

Educated at Paddington, New South Wales Public School and Sydney Girls High School, Ethel began her writing career when she was eighteen, founding the “Parthenon”, a journal for young people, with her sister Lillian. Using the pen-name 'Dame Durden', Ethel wrote children's columns for the “Illustrated Sydney News” and the “Australian Town and Country Journal”.

In 1896, Ethel married Herbert Curlewis, a lawyer. 

During the First World War (1914-1918) Ethel demonstrated that she was a staunch patriot - she worked hard on patriotic campaigns, including advocacy for conscription, Australian intake of European war orphans and raising funds for soldiers’ homes. 

In 1915, along with other fundraising work, Ethel wrote a song to raise money for the Red Cross.  She also campaigned for the early closing of hotels and “sobriety in wartime” (1915), as well as giving support to the wartime referendum for the 6 o’clock closing of pubs (1916). 

In order to raise money for soldiers returning to Australia after the war, Ethel co-edited “The Australian Soldiers’ Gift Book” with Bertram Stevens (Voluntary Workers' Association, Sydney, N.S.W.,1918).

Ethel died on 8th April 1958 and was buried in Macquarie Park Cemetery in Sydney.

Ethel's poem about WW1 poet Rupert Brooke, which was published in "Poetry Magazine", edited by Harriet Monroe, in June 1924:


Find my Past, FreeBMD


https://www.facebook.com/rupertbrookepoet https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/LIB9106

Monday, 10 April 2023

Ada Tessibel Peters, born c. 1901 and Ethel Pauline Peters, born c. 1903 – American sisters who were both poets

 With grateful thanks to Historian, Poet and Writer AC Benus* for finding these important poets and their poetry for us

The girls’ parents were Robert E. Peters and his wife Ethel Peters, nee Hughes, and the family lived in Beckley, West Virginia., United States of America.    

"The sisters were known in the poetical world as "The Peters Sisters." The Peters Sisters have had very limited education. Each of them spent one and one half years in high school at the Institute. West Virginia. Their teacher was Prof. Byrd Prillerman."

By William F. Denny from The Introduction to their poetry collection “War poems” by Ada Tessibel Peters and Ethel Pauline Peters (Union publishing Co., Charleston, West Virginia, 1919). 


The sole intention of the Authors in writing these poems is to show the Negro's loyalty to the Stars and Stripes, in the war with Germany; and to show  the need of unity of all men in the fight for democracy. The Authors.” From the sisters' WW1 collection “War poems” by Ada Tessibel Peters and Ethel Pauline Peters (Union publishing Co., Charleston, West Virginia, 1919) 

OUR WAR WITH GERMANY. Poem by Ada Tessibel Peters


America and her Allies are now engaged 

In a war that freedom might live, 

That all nations may not be enslaved 

Giving as all True Americans would give 

Fighting lest Germany's Kaiser should spread 

The spirit of feudalism over the earth, 

That the Sons of Liberty may not be led 

Captives from the land of their birth. 


While foreign field were strewn with dead 

With folded arms we merely looked on 

'Till the wronged people believed and said 

"They are gamblers, in search of coin." 

We became apoligist for our neutriality 

While an uncivilized war waged on 

Devoid of all principle and morality 

Urged on by brutes in human form. 


When the country of Belgium was invaded 

And It's inhabitants tortured and slain 

When other defenseless towns were raided 

And mines in neutral waters were lain 

When the smoldering ruins of France we saw 

The home of the world's greatest arts 

Then Humanity forced us into this war 

For America too, must do her part. 


The Imperial German Government smiled

When the Sussex, and Lusitania went down 

Unwarningly murdering American lives 

While on peaceful missions bound 

Should not this wicked and hideous crime 

That sent our friends to watery graves 

Help more close our hearts to bind 

And strengthen us on our rugged way?

“War Poems” Pages 9 – 10 

read the remainder of the poem – pages 10 – 15  here https://archive.org/details/warpoems00pete/page/10/mode/2up



Oh wandering pilgrims of Virginia, 

Who made you noted men. 

Whom was ever your defender. 

And proved old Glory's friend. 

Was it not back in sixteen 

For slaves of your selfish will. 

When your unfree tongues were still, 

You ignorantly bought pearls unseen, 

For slaves of your selfish will. 


In vales and on historic hills, 

Where your gallant heroes sleep, 

Once Ethiophians your soil tilled, 

From dawn till sunset peace. 

Raised grain and your cattle fed, 

In your business planned and advised, 

Without place to lay their heads 

Your own pearls unrecognized. 

Your own pearls unrecognised.


From tobacco made you wealthy, 

Your cruelty was humbly borne 

Slave cooks made you healthy,  

Black boys protected your homes, 

With maimed bodies and chained hands, 

Died to make your sons free, 

Rare gems in a slave land. 

Robbed of rights and liberty. 

From “War Poems” page 48). Read the remainder of the poem on pages 49 - 51 here 


Sources:  Find my Past and 


*AC Benus is the author of a book about German WW1 poet Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele : “The Thousandth Regiment: A Translation of and Commentary on Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele’s War Poems” by AC Benus (AC Benus, San Francisco, 2020). Along with Hans's story, the book includes original poems as well as translations.    ISBN: 978-1657220584