Saturday 30 August 2014

German WW1 female poet - Isolde Kurz (1853 - 1944)

I am indebted to Martin Zieren for suggesting I research Isolde, which I hope to do shortly.

In the meantime, Martin says:  "You may have heard of the German poet Isolde Kurz and her wartime Poem of 1916 "Schwert aus der Scheide" (sword out of the sheathe), where she puts the Kaiser's stance in rhymes (you know:   we were minding our business, trying to grow and get strong, 
but out of the blue the enemy attacks us, 
now we have to defend ourselves by the sword) - 

In der Halle des Hauses da hängt ein Schwert, 
Schwert in der Scheide. In seinem Blitzen vergeht die Erd‘. 
Wir hüten’s und beten Tag und Nacht, 
Daß es nicht klirrend selbst erwacht. 
Denn uns ist geschrieben ein heilges Gebot: 
Ihr sollt es nur brauchen in letzter Not, 
Schwert in der Scheide. Wir sind geduldig wie Starke sind, 
Schwert in der Scheide. Wir achten’s nicht, was der Neid uns spinnt. Sie haben uns manchen Tort getan, 
Wir litten’s und hielten den Atem an. 
Die Sonne glüht auf der Ernte Gold. 
Friede, wie bist du so hold, so hold, 
Schwert in der Scheide! Doch der Neid missgönnt uns den Platz am   Licht, 
Schwert in der Scheide! Feinde umzieh‘n uns wie Wolken dicht. 
Zehn gegen Einen in Waffenschein! 
Wer bleibt uns treu? – Unser Gott allein. 
Die Erde zuckt und der Himmel flammt. 
Schwert, nun tu dein heiliges Amt! 
Schwert aus der Scheide!"

Many thanks indeed Martin.

Friday 29 August 2014

Interesting websites - The Dean Echenberg War Poetry Collection and Tanya Birnie's Headstones of women who served and died in WW1

Do browse Dean Echenberg's War Poetry Collection

and see if you can find any women poets on Tanya Birnie's weblog regarding Headstones of women who served and died during the First World War

Alan Hodgkinson, kia 1st July 1916 and WW1 poet Rex Friston

In a slight departure from my usual postings, I share with you below an e-mail received from David Coleman who has a very interesting weblog about WW1 poet Rex Freston.  David is trying to find information about, and a photo of, Alan Hodgkinson - all fascinating and WW1-related, so please  read on and if any of you can help please contact David directly via his weblog:

"Hodgkinson, Alan from Farnham, Surrey

Lieutenant, acting Captain, Alan Hodgkinson,  the Royal Warwickshire Regt, killed in action, first day of the Somme 1 July 1916

Cemetery: Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz
 A Tribute to a local Farnham soldier

My father-in-law, Russell Markland, poet R M Ingersley, was Lt. Hodgkinson's cousin;  Russell was also chronicler to the works of H Rex Freston, more of whom later.

Deeply moved by his cousin's death Russell Markland published a booklet in his memory "Ultimate Light" one poem called 'To Forget' can be seen on my blog, and below.

To Forget

How can a thing so perfect die
When the rapture lingers yet
As the Love of youth and its faith and truth?
How can a heart forget?

Never shall fade the joy divine
When lips and true hearts met.
This will I keep till the last long sleep,
And beyond - I will not forget.

But O to forget how a glance could change,
How the sun of love could set!
And the nameless pain of a sweet thing slain
Oh God ! to forget ! to forget !

My weblog is about H Rex Freston and contains a trail to the events which led to my researches, ending with a reference to Chris Gardner's evening of Music to the Fallen in Alton, due in October later this autumn...

Within the blog  is reference to Russell's handwritten diaries, which I possess, and significantly with regard to Farnham and Hodgkinson, Russell recalls on 21 July 1919 on arrival in Farnham  "a taxi waiting which took us up to" Bradshaigh" - Uncle Alex and Auntie Lillie, were waiting for us (Dr and Mrs Hodgkinson) - we had tea and saw "Queenie" playing tennis with a Captain Bobbie Travers". 

After walking around the garden, Russell comments  " great improvement since I was there Dec 1915, when dear old Alan was alive - the place seems full of his personality. "

I have since traced Alan's grave in Mametz and found pictures on the Web of Farnham's  memorial stone.

It feels strange that my trail started from my wife's home in the north of England begins with Rex Freston's death in January 1916 should then proceed via Alan Hodgginson's in July 1916 and end up so local to where we have lived for the past 50 years, as both Farnham and Clewer, Freston' s home, are so close to where we now live.  

I feel a word about Russell Markland might be appropriate. A deeply sensitive young man, deemed not robust enough for military service, watching his contemporaries go off to war, he threw himself into organising the war effort locally in Wilmslow and Lytham. Through his poetry anthology, "The Glory of Belgium", he supported the Belgium Repatriation Fund, which attempted to care for the needs of the 250,000 Belgian refugees that arrived here in Britain. To read "The Glory of Belgium", open it on Google or try to open the link to California that I have embedded, key in the query box "The Glory of Belgium Russell Markland" and the book will appear. In the left hand margin click 'read on line' and then on the riight you can click and read page by page. Magic, if it works for you: California Digital Library

More details can be found in my aforementioned blog, including his requiem to Freston. 

A chilling Pathe news video -' the day that shook the world' - about the first day of the Somme is on UTube.

If anyone can add to my knowledge of Alan Hodgkinson, or perhaps know of surviving family, I would be pleased to hear from them. I would particularly like to see any photos of him.

With regards, David Coleman."  See David's weblogs:

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Event celebrating women poets of WW1, London W1J 8DU, Wednesday, 17th September 2014

The Fleming Collection Gallery in Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU are currently hosting an exhibition titled Traces of War: Landscapes of the Western Front, and as part of the exhibition they are showing a selection of photographs taken throughout the First World War depicting women at work in heavy industries during the conflict.

To complement the exhibition, they are holding an evening event celebrating the women poets of the First World War and the works they produced. The evening on Wednesday, 17th September 2014 will be hosted by Judith Palmer, Director of the Poetry Society, and will include an introduction to the works as well as poetry readings, telling the story of poets who worked as nurses or ambulance drivers, and those who waited and mourned for brothers, lovers and sons. 

The talk is being held at the Fleming Collection which is situated in Berkeley Street, Green Park, London W1. Tickets to the event are £7.50, and doors will open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start, with the evening expected to conclude around 8.30pm.

Tickets are available via phone and/or E-mail; 020 7042 5730 or

The Gallery has recently commissioned a poem based upon a work from their permanent collection which is currently on show as part of the Traces of War exhibition. The Eve of the Battle of the Somme by Sir Herbert James Gunn, painted by Gunn whilst in service during the war, is a poignant and deeply moving picture of young soldiers at rest and play before a battle that would claim the lives of thousands of men.

In association with The Poetry Society, the Fleming Collection has commissioned Scottish poet John Glenday to write a poem about the painting to be displayed alongside it, which is on display until Traces of War closes on 18 October 2014.

For further information, please contact
London W1J 8DU
Tel.: 020 7042 5730

The Eve of the Battle of the Somme by Sir Herbert James Gunn, who joined the Artists Rifles at the outbreak of WW1, was commissioned into the 10th Scottish Rifles and saw active service on the Western Front.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Maria Pawlikowska Jaznorzewska - Polish

With many thanks to David Harrop for this photograph of Maria's grave in Manchester Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.  David's Facebook Group is extremely interesting.

Maria is one of the WW1 female poets featured in my exhibition panels and she is also in Volume 1 of the book. Maria and her husband went to live in Blackpool during the Second World War.  Maria was taken ill and admitted to hospital in Manchester, where she died.

Due to her connection with Blackpool, Maria is one of the main poets featured in the exhibition of Female Poets of the First World War that is currently on at Blackpool Central Library, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK until the end of August 2014.   Clancy Mason from Blackpool Central Library had some of the exhibition panels - Wilfred Owen who visited the town before going to the Western Front in 1916 in order to purchase a Trench Coat and Margaret Rowntree a poet from Fleetwood - printed up in an extra large format and we think they look pretty amazing.  Here is Maria's panel on show in the Library foyer with Miss Radio Wave 2014 holding a copy of Volume 1 of Female Poets of the First World War.

Exhibition of Female Poets of the First World War at Blackpool Central Library until the end of August 2014.

Volume 1 of Female Poets of the First World War is a companion book to accompany the exhibitions.  There is also an e-book available - details of both are on

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Eva Dobell - poet and VAD

Eva was born Eveline Jessie Dobell on 30th January 1876. Her father was Clarence Mason Dobell a wine merchant, her mother Emily Ann Duffield from Manchester and her uncle was the poet Sydney Dobell.  She was the youngest of three children.

Eva volunteered to join the Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War and, according to Nosheen Khan in her anthology "Women's Poetry of the First World War", Eva worked in several different hospitals during that time. 

Eva never married. She continued to write after the war and published several volumes of poetry and a play in verse.  She died in Cheltenham in 1963.

Patrick Dobell is listed as being the Literary Executor for Eva Dobell's estate.

I am currently carrying out research to find out more about Eva.  As her poetry is still in copyright this will include trying to contact Patrick Dobell.   There are several websites where Eva's WW1 poems can be viewed, including

I am also looking for a photograph of Eva.  Several come up on Google Images but I am not certain that any of them are Eva.   If anyone can help, please get in touch.#

Eva's WW1 poetry collections are listed as:
'A Bunch of Cotswold Grasses', Stockwell, 1919
'Verses new and old', Favil, P., 1959
Catherine W. Reilly's 'English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography' (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978)

Saturday 16 August 2014

Exhibition photos and apology

First of all my sincere apologies - I somehow managed to leave Beatrix Brice Miller off the List I posted previously of Poets who Nursed, etc. during WW1.   I don't know how that happened because Beatrix was one of the very first on that list to go to France in 1914.   Beatrix and her mother both went - Beatrix's mother was a trained nurse and Beatrix went as a "Lady Helper".  Lady Helpers worked as orderlies, clerks, kitchen helpers - in fact anywhere that needed a spare pair of hands.

Photos from the exhibition at Blackpool Central Library, Lancashire (left) and The Marine Hall, Fleetwood, both August 2014 (right).

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Female poets who were VADs, nurses, ambulance drivers, etc. during WW1

I am currently researching women who wrote poetry who were also nurses, VADs, drivers, cooks, artists, entertainers, munitions workers, and so on, during the First World War.

I have so far found the following.  If anyone knows of any others, please get in touch.   I am very keen to include women from all countries of the world - not just the UK, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland and so on - and would welcome your input.  Many thanks.


Edith Bagnold (Great-grandmother to Samantha Cameron wife of the current British Prime Minister)

Maud Anna Bell

Vera Brittain (nursed in Malta, France and Britain)

May Wedderburn Cannan (VAD - Rouen, France 1915 and Paris in 1918)

Eva Dobble

Rosaleen Graves (nursed in Britain and in France)

I. Grindley

Winifred Holtby (drove ambulances in France)

Nina Mardel

Carola Oman

Jessie Pope (volunteered at St. Dunstan's home for soldiers who had been blinded which opened in 1915)

May Sinclair (Travelled to France with Dr. H. Monro in August 1914, May had to return to England after six weeks due to shell shock)

Millicent Sutherland - her work was painted by the French artist Victor Tardieu

Joan Thompson

Evelyn Underhill (I am not sure if she nursed but she did work for the SSAFA - Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force Association - a welfare group)

Alberta Vickridge

M. Winifred Wedgwood

Alice Williams (went to Paris to run a refugee centre)


Mary Borden set up and funded a medical team and went to France 1915 - 1918

Mary H.J. Henderson lived in England and went with Elsa Inglis to Russia and Serbia to nurse

Marie Van Vorst

Edith Wharton

Ella Wheeler Wilcox - went to France in 1918 to read poetry and lecture to the troops

Grace Ellery Channing went as a War Correspondent


Henriette HARDENBERG - poet and nurse

Thursday 7 August 2014

"Welsh Women's Poetry 1460 - 2001"

Edited by Katie Gramich and Catherine Brennan and published by Honno Classics in 2003, this wonderful bi-lingual anthology is full of the most beautiful poetry.

I have asked Honno if I might review the book for my weblog and exhibition panels as it is so very good.   When I hear from them I will post further details.  In the meantime, Welsh Women Poets of WW1 included in the volume are:

(Bardic names in brackets)

Sarah Jane Reese (Cranogwen)
Alice Gray Jones (Ceridwen Pewris)
Ellen Hughes
Elizabeth Mary Jones (Moelona)
Eiluned Lewis
and Dilys Cadwaladr

With grateful thanks to Deb Fisher of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship and also to the lovely people at the Drill Hall Project.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Nell Walden (1887 Karlskrona/Sweden – 1975 Bern)

My grateful thanks to Penelope Monkhouse in Germany for her hard work in finding German women poets.    I am deeply indebted to Penelope for her continuing support of this commemorative project.

Nell was born Nell Roslund. She was an artist and writer, daughter of a pastor. The family moved to Landskrona in 1903.  Nell studied music in Lund, receiving her diploma as an organist in 1908. She went to Berlin to study German, where she lived until 1911.  In Berlin Nell met Herwarth Walden, the editor of Der Sturm.    The couple married the following year in London and travelled widely in Europe.

Nell Walden then met Klee and Kandinsky, who encouraged her to paint.  When The First World War broke out, Nell worked as a journalist and collected works of the “Sturm”-artists, Swedish art as well as African and Oceanic art. In 1916 she attended painting classes in the newly founded “Sturm”-art school and the following year exhibited for the first time. In 1923 she ended her work for Der Sturm and divorced Herwarth Walden.

From 1932 Nell worked as a painter, poet, translator and art collector. Her second husband, the doctor Hans Hermann Heimann whom she married in 1926, was murdered by the Nazis. In 1940 she married the Swiss teacher Hannes Urech. From 1944 the couple lived in Schinznach-Bad AG. In 1957, for her 70th birthday, Nell's paintings were shown in a special exhibition in Aarau and a volume of her pictures and poems was published, edited by Hannes Urech and Lothar Schreyer.

Hannes and Nell moved to a new house “Seehalde” in Seengen in 1962, where her husband died the following year. In her last years, Nell travelled to Israel and Ibiza. She is buried next to her third husband in Aarau in Switzerland.

Penelope Monkhouse (*1952) is a German-British scientist living in Schwetzingen/Germany and is a granddaughter of the novelist, dramatist and literary critic Allan Monkhouse. Literature of the early 20thcentury is presently one of her chief non-scientific interests; she is presently engaged on a comparative study of German and English poetry of this period. She also writes poetry of her own and translates poetry to and from German and English. 

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Exhibition at Blackpool Central Library, August 2014

We went to the launch of the Poetry Exhibition (mostly Female but including Wilfred Owen who visited the town in 1916 while he was at the Gunnery School in Fleetwood) at Blackpool Central Library, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK on 4th August 2014. The lovely people at the Library planted some poppies on the little piece of grass outside and they looked amazing yesterday, so we took a photo to share with you all. WE WILL REMEMBER THEM ALL
During WW1, the white feather was used as a symbol of cowardice. Now, however, it is a symbol of hope and peace. There were loads of white feathers near the poppies yesterday
Blackpool Central Library,
Queen St, Blackpool, Lancashire FY1 1PX
Opening Hours:

Monday - Thursday - 9.30 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday - 9.30 a.m. - 5. 00 p.m.
Sunday - closed

Tel.:  01253 478080


Friday 1 August 2014

Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska - Polish - one of the poets featured at the Blackpool Exhibition

One of the poets featured in the Blackpool Central Library Exhibition to be held from 4th August until the beginning of September 2014 is Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (1891 - 1945).

Maria is also featured in Volume 1 of "Female Poets of the First World War".   Why Maria?  Well, she spent some time in Blackpool at the beginning of WW2.

Maria became ill and died in hospital in Manchester, where she is buried.  If anyone knows where Maria is buried and has a photo of her grave, could they please get in touch.  Thank you.

WW1 Commemorative Exhibition at Blackpool Central Library, Blackpool, Lancashire - August 2014

This morning, in torrential rain, we went to take some panels in for the setting up the exhibition of Female Poets, Inspirational Women and Fascinating Facts that is to be held in Blackpool Central Library from 4th August 2013.   Clancy and her team are doing a fantastic job setting up the panels (see photo).

On Monday, 4th August 2014 under the title "Pack up Your Troubles" Blackpool Central Library are holding a launch event from 1 pm, featuring a talk, refreshments and poetry readings.  £1 per person - payable on arrival.

The lyrics to the famous World War 1 marching song "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile", were written by Welsh songwriter George Henry Powell (1880 - 1951). George used the pen-name George Asaf for this song and his words were set to music written by his brother, Felix Powell (1878 - 1942).  Felix and George Powell were from St. Asaph, Denbighshire in North Wales.  

The brothers entered their song into a competition held during the First World War to find the best 'morale-building' song for WW1. Their song won first prize with the commendation "perhaps the most optimistic song ever written.   Felix was a Staff Sergeant during WW1 and George was a conscientious objector.

Blackpool Central Library,
Queen St, Blackpool, 
Lancashire FY1 1PX, UK

Tel.:  01253 478080

Opening Hours:

Monday - Thursday - 9.30 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday - 9.30 a.m. - 5. 00 p.m.
Sunday - closed