Sunday 15 March 2015

South Africa in WW1

One of the best things about this commemorative project is being in contact with people all around the world who are also interested in the poetry of the First World War.

The other day, I spoke to a young lady in South Africa and I remembered that I had not written much about Edith L.M. King (1871 - 1962) who was born in Pietermaritzberg, South Africa.  Coincidentally, my aunt married an Afrikaans soldier who she met when she was in the Women's Royal Naval Service during the Second World War.  She emigrated to Pietermaritzberg.

Edith King is featured in Volume 1 of "Female Poets of the First World War".  Edith studied art in Paris before returning to South Africa to become a school teacher.

Through Derek Walker of the Facebook Group  I discovered a "Forgotten Poet of the First World War" (Forgotten (male) Poets is another section of this commemorative exhibition project) - Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi (1875 - 1945) - South African.  I also learned of the existence of the South African Labour Corps during WW1.

Derek kindly supplied the following information:  "The SANLC are a very neglected part of our military history. Basically volunteers who were employed to do the dirty work and who were not allowed to bear arms. Its a bit of an unsavoury part of our military history, and the loss of the Mendi was a tragedy, I dont have numbers or info on it all, but will see if I can dredge up some interesting reads about them. They also served in WW2 although I think they were then known as NMC (Native Military Corps), and did a fantastic job wherever they went.

Photo:  Edith L.M. King from Google Images

"Lost Sheep"

Among the poets on my list (which you will find at the top of the main weblog page, along with the List of Books I have read so far (Bibliography) etc.) are those I have called "Lost Sheep" because I couldn't find out anything about them.

I have had some wonderful and very helpful e-mails recently for which I am very grateful.  

Many thanks to:

Phil Dawes who supplied information about Sybil Bristowe and Violet Helen Friedlaender

Jacky Rodger who sent me a great deal of information about Elinor Jenkins which she discovered when researching her own family WW1 history.

Olga Khoroshilova from Russia who contacted me about the missing Russian women soldier poets Mariia Nikolaevna Skrydlova and Aleksandra Gerasimova Kudasheva.  Olga also told me about Vera Gedroits, a Russian woman poet who took part in the Russo Japanese conflict, the First World War and the Russian Civil War.   

And to Nancy from Canada who has sent me information about Edna Jaques a Canadian poet.

Thank you all so much.   Together I am confident that we will find a great many more of the forgotten poets of the First World War both male and female and bring their work to a much wider audience.