Sunday 24 December 2017

Christmas Poems of the First World War

With thanks to the research of WW1 researcher Debbie Cameron, who has a page on Facebook commemorating the women of WW1 -
here is a Christmas poem written by a nurse at the end of the war.  Helen Nightingale features in the anthology "Great Ward Poetry" edited by Simon McNeill-Ritchie (who has a Facebook Page for Great Ward Poetry).

We had an exchange of e-mails in October 2014 about Helen's nationality and with Debbie's help I think we can now say that Helen was British.  More soon.  In the meantime, here is Helen's Christmas 1918 poem:

Christmas Poems of The First World War

poem by Kathleen Ethel Burne (1879 - 1959)

Kathleen's poetry collection "Poems by K.E.B." includes several poems written during the First World War.

Sources:  Information kindly supplied by Lesley Young who has carried out extensive research on the life and work of Kathleen, and members of Kathleen's family.

Christmas Eve, 1916 by Kathleen Ethel Burne

The little lamp burns bright; the Babe
Lies in the manger there;
The mother bends above; her hands
Are clasped in praise and prayer;
Her tender face a-light with love
Looks down upon Him there.

This little Child was born, they say,
To save the world from sin.
So still and peaceful lies the scene-
How crept the evil in?
What madness swept across the earth
And plunged the world in sin?

The Shepherds kneel, simple souls,
Beneath the open sky
They learn to read the signs of God
And humbly drawing nigh
They worship here the Sign that flamed
From out the midnight sky.

The Wise Men from the East with gifts
In adoration dumb
Bend low. Stern searchers after truth,
But yet in faith they come:
Before the Mother and the Child
Their restless doubts are dumb.

The gentle large-eyed ox, the ass,
Stand gazing without fear;
The camels through the open door,
And small wild things draw near-
Where all is love and peace and joy,
What room is there for fear?

So sweet and peaceful is the scene-
Ah, whence crept evil in?-
Give peace, O God, to weary hearts
And cleanse our souls from sin !
Stretch forth Thine arms, all-loving God
And draw Thy children in !


Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mabel Goode (continued from the post on 7th October 2017)

On page 53 of her diary, we read that Mabel has had a poem published in "The Yorkshire Herald", one of her local newspapers, on 31st October 1914.

"To the R.A.M.C."

Who are these who go where the bullets fly,
Where the shells come crashing down,
Where thicker, and thicker, the wounded lie,
In the ranks of the khaki brown?

All un-armed are they, neither sword nor gun
Do they bear for defence or hurt.
Then what do they where the ruthless Hun
Is doing his deadly work?

Though they bear no arms, they are fighting a foe
Whose touch ends our mortal breath;
Where their comrades are stricken and lying low
They are waging a war with Death.

Thus they count not their own lives to them dear,
So their comrades' lives be saved,
While they bind up their wounds, and with tender cheer,
Bear them back where the Red Cross waves.

Is not this a Christ-like work to do?
Can a "greater love" we see?
Then give we honour where honour is due -
To the men of the R.A.M.C.

M.G. York.

From:  "The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode", edited by Michael Goode and published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2017.

Monday 6 November 2017

Maria Railton (1846 - 1921) - British

My grateful thanks to Victoria Doran who sent me this poem written by the mother of a soldier who fell in the First World War. 

Maria Jackson was born in 1846 in Cumberland.  In 1869 she married Thomas Railton and the family lived in Holme East Waver, Wigton, a small market town in the county of Cumberland, which is now known as Cumbria, in the north west of England.
Maria wrote the poem following the death of her son, Edward, who was her youngest child.  He was killed while fighting in Mesopotamia in January 1917.

To find out more about the soldier, please see Victoria’s research and write up here:

He fell, the rest marched on to victory, the race was run
The day was won, Ah, God, my little son.
The patriot in his bosom blazed in answer to his country’s call
When high-born hopes were well nigh raised he gave himself – his all.
He never stopped to reason when first the war began
He went and did his duty, like a soldier and a man.

See the lonely mother weep the heartfelt silent tear,
It slowly trickles down her cheek, for the boy she loved so dear
Come, asked her reason of her sigh,
Why weeps she? What’s her care?
She mourns her slaughtered son, that’s why –
Show me the Glory there. 

Maria Railton

Sunday 5 November 2017

Catherine W. Reilly (1925 – 2005) – British Librarian and writer ("Scars Upon My Heart")

I began my research into poetry written by women during the First World War by reading Catherine W. Reilly's anthology "Scars upon my Heart".  Then I discovered her "English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliography" and this has been my constant companion ever since.  I always check there first when I am researching a poet. I could not have made much progress without those two publications, so I felt I ought to add a tribute to Catherine W. Reilly's wonderful pioneering research into women's poetry of WW1.
Catherine Winifred Reilly was born on 4th April 1925 in Stretford, Lancashire, UK, the eldest of four children. Her mother’s maiden name was Macaulay and her maternal grandmother came from Ireland.  Catherine won a scholarship to Hollies Convent, a Roman Catholic Grammar School in south Manchester, which was evacuated to Clitheroe in Lancashire during in 1939.

When Catherine left school she worked for the public libraries in Manchester.  In 1947 she became Assistant Borough Librarian for Trafford in Lancashire.

Catherine is most famous for her war poetry anthologies:

“Scars Upon my Heart*: Women’s Poetry and Verse of the First World War” and “Chaos of the Night**:  Women’s Poetry and Verse of World War Two”.

For her research into the amazing “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” which took four years to complete at a time when the Internet was still a dream, Catherine was awarded a Fellowship of the Library Association.   In that work she identified 2,225 British men and women who wrote and published poetry or verse during the First World War, with a section at the back naming some of the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South African and American poets of the era.

In 1980, Catherine attended Merton College, Oxford where she studied for an M.Litt.  The result of that was “English Poetry of the Second World War: A Bibliography” which was published in 1986 by G.K. Hall & Co., Boston, Mass., USA.  For that work Catherine received the Besterman Medal for Bi*bliography.

Catherine also published “Winged Words***: Victorian Women’s Poetry and Verse” (Enitharmon, 1994) and was working on an early Victorian women’s poetry anthology when she died in Sale, Cheshire, UK on 26th September 2005.

*Title taken from a line in a poem by Vera Brittain.

**Title taken from a line in a poem by Frances Cornford.

***Title taken from a line in a poem by Mary Coleridge.





Friday 3 November 2017

"Tipperary to Flanders Fields" a commemortion for Remembrance Weekend 2017 in Kent, UK

The UK Kent-based Actors’ Co-operative Katapult Productions presents "Tipperary to Flanders Fields" which commemorates the First World War in words and music, using some of the songs and poems from the era.  Some of the content tells the story of the women in WW1 in their own words.  

Devised and directed by Michael Thomas the performers will be Julia Burnett, Marie Kelly, Alan Simmons and Ann Lindsey Wickens.
Performances of “Tipperary to Flanders Fields” will be held during Remembrance Weekend 2017 at the following venues:

The Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DN on 11th November 2017 at 7.30pm;
at The Astor, Deal, CT14 6AB on 12/11/2017 at 4pm;

and at The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT on 13/11/2017 at 2.30pm.

Tickets available from the box offices of the theatres.

Initial information shared from Remembering Women on the Home Front Facebook page, with further information provided by Katapult Productions.

Monday 30 October 2017

A First World War poem by French poet Adrienne Blanc-Peridier

I posted a brief biography of Adrienne Blanc-Peridier on this weblog on 21st September 1915

I have translated of one of Adrienne's poems from her collection "Le Cantique de la Patrie, 1917" published by TYF, Flou-Nourrit & Cie., Paris, 1918, pp 23 – 24.

A detailed search has failed to find any copyright holder for Adrienne’s poems.

War swept across the plain
Dressed in red, her hair aflame !…
The young men followed her, every one
Leaving their girl friends all alone !…

War raced down the hillsides,
With feverish mouth and red eyes …
Heedless of the women who wept,
The men followed her every step.
Triumphant, insatiable, war
Runs thru' the fields and across the forest floor,
Her seductive voice exhorting the men
To join her in battle again and again.

Shivering, exhausted, out of breath,
Regardless of the smell of certain death,
They follow war, surrendering to her fatal powers
Eager to pick her lips' toxic flowers!

Translated by Lucy London, 11th and 12th October 2015


La guerre a passé sur la plaine
Avec sa robe rouge et ses cheveux épars !…
Les jeunes hommes l'ont suivie
Et les jeunes filles n'ont plus d'amoureux !…

La guerre a descendu le versant des collines,
La bouche fiévreuse et les yeux en feu…
Et sans voir les larmes des femmes,
Les  hommes ont couru sur ses pas.

La guerre triomphante et jamais assouvie
Court sur nos champs et sur nos bois,
Et sa voix haletante appelle
Les jeunes hommes au combat.

Tremblants, éperdus, hors d'haleine,
Ils vont, abandonnés à son pouvoir fatal ;
Ils veulent cueillir la fleur de ses lèvres
Dont le parfum donne la mort !

Adrienne Blanc-Peridier, 1915

Saturday 7 October 2017

Mabel Goode (1872 – 1954) – British

It is always exciting to find another poet and browsing through a book recently, see left, I discovered that Mabel Goode, who kept a war diary, also wrote poetry.  On pages 160 - 161 of this wonderful book about Mabel's WW1 diary, you will find some of Mabel's First World War Poetry. 

Mabel was born on 27th October 1872 and, according to her Great-Great Nephew who edited her WW1 diary, Mabel was brought up by her Step-Mother because her parents died before her tenth birthday. 

The family lived in Germany from 1881 – 1887 and Mabel went to the Slade School of Art on her return from Germany.  During the Second World War she lived in Ulverston in the Lake District.  Ulverston was in Lancashire at that time.  Mabel died in 1954.  

"The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode" Edited by Michael Goode with a Foreword by Sir Chris Clark. Published by Pen & Sword (Barnsley, S. Yorkshire, UK, in 2016).  

I am hoping to find out more about Mabel soon.

Monday 2 October 2017

Lily Horswill (1877 - 1944) - British

If you follow my weblog regularly, you will know that from time to time I receive messages from relatives of the poets on my list.

Actress and theatre producer Fidelis Morgan contacted me recently about her Great Aunt Lily Horswill, who is mentioned on page 174 of Catherine W. Reilly’s “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978).

Fidelis sent me some information about her Great-Aunt, so I went on Find my Past to complete the picture:

LILLIAN EMMA HORSWILL (1877–1944) - British

Lily was born on 17th August 1877 in Tunnel Hill, Claines, Worcestershire, UK.  Her parents were William Henry Upham Horswill, a furniture salesman, and his wife Amy, nee Chatttaway.  Lily had the following siblings: Charles H., b. 1865, Herbert W., b. 1867, Edith A., b. 1871, Lizzie A., b. 1875, Florence E., b. 1881, Walter P., b. 1883 and Sydney, b.1884.

Lily’s brother Walter, who was Fidelis’s Grandfather, served in the Army during WW1 and was badly injured during the Battle of Ypres.  Fidelis knew him as a child and he never recovered from being gassed.

In 1911, the Horswill family was living at no. 15 Warburton Road, Seaforth, Lancashire and it seems that Lily was still living there in 1939. 

Lily died on 31st August 1944 at The Little Retreat, Great Leighs, Essex.

According to Catherine W. Reilly, Lily Horswill published a poem entitled “Duty’s Call” in Liverpool in 1914.  I have not been able to trace a copy of the poem and wondered if anyone could help please.

Monday 18 September 2017

Barbara Garnons Williams - British

Frances Mary Barbara Garnons Williams was born in 1889.  Her father was British Army Officer and Welsh Rugby Union Player Richard Davies Garnons Williams, a landowner, and her mother was Alice Jessie Garnons Williams, nee Bircham.  In 1911, the family lived in Waundererwen Hay, Hay Urban, Breconshire, Wales,


Barbara Garnons Williams was educated at Godolphin School, Salisbury, Wiltshire, In Kensington in 1916, Barbara married Roderick Buckley Hume, a solicitor and director of Buckley’s Breweries in Llanelly, Wales.


Barbara was serving in France when her husband, a Captain in the Welsh Guards, who had been invalided home from Gallipoli and served in Egypt and on the Western Front, where he was wounded at the Battle of Ypres, was killed at Cambrai on 1st December 1917.  Her father, a Lieutenant-Colonel, although retired from the Army, served again in WW1 and was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos.


Barbara’s Uncle, Aylmer Herbert Garnons Williams, was in command of the Lancashire Navy League Sea Training Home in Liscard.


The following poem written by Barbara was published in the Godolphin School Magazine “The Godolphin Gazette” in the Summer Term 1915:





“Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”


Forth! Though the din of battle sounds but faintly

            O’er English woods and lanes.

Forth! For it thunders loud and still more loudly

            On French and Belgian plains.


Forth! And though many hundreds fall beside them,

            Though cannon thunder loud,

Yet they stand fast, unbroken and undaunted,

            Awe-stricken, yet uncowed!


Forth! For from blood-drenched earth, in purple trenches

            Their comrades call them home;

“Fresh are the laurels, bright the crowns immortal,

            Therefore, our brethren, come!”


Forth! Across yards hail-swept with shrapnel,

            While great shells burst above,

They meet the death their brothers found before them

            And know the “greater love.”


Forth! And though heads are bowed and eyes are weary,

            Only one thing they see:

That flag which sets their brains and pulses bounding

            To set their England free!


Forth! And they come from many lands and islands,

            Yet all are one in death.

And for one end and for one great tradition

            They give their latest breath.


Forth! They are heroes, and their lives are precious,

            And some of great renown.

Yet each one finds a larger life and fuller

            In laying this life down.


Oh, God of Battles! Grant them rest from striving,

            Make all their warfare cease!

Give that, which passes all our understanding,

            Thine own eternal Peace.



With grateful thanks to Lucy Beney, herself a former Godolphin School pupil, for searching through the WW1 copies of "Godolphine Gazette" and sending me some fantastic poems written by female poets, including the poem written by Barbara Garnons Williams.

Friday 1 September 2017

Poem by a woman munitions worker in WW1 Bedfordshire

Well in time for our Christmas Wish Lists, here is news of a WW1-related book to be published on 2nd October 2017 by The History Press - “Sand, Planes and Submarines: How Leighton Buzzard shortened the War” by Paul Brown and Delia Gleave.   To pre-order a copy please see the following link:

I am reliably informed there will be some WW1 poems written by women munitions workers (see photo from the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives) and a chapter about local nurses.  Definitely a must buy.

With thanks to Elise Ward who posted mention of the poems on Debbie Cameron's Facebook Page Remembering Women on the Home Front WW1.

Thursday 31 August 2017

Elizabeth Bibesco, Princess (1897 – 1945) – British writer, poet, playwright, actress, producer.

Elizabeth Charlotte Lucy Asquith was born on 26th February 1897 in London.  She was the first-born child of Herbert Henry Asquith, the British Liberal politician, and his second wife, Emma Alice Margaret, nee Tennant, who was known as Margot.  Elizabeth had a brother, Anthony (1902 – 1968), who became a film director.  Their half-siblings were Raymond (1878 – 1916), Herbert junior (1881 – 1947), Arthur, b. 1884, Helen Violet (1887 – 1969) and Cyril (1890 – 1954).  Herbert Asquith senior was the British Prime Minister from 1908 until 1916, when he became ill following the death during the Somme Offensive of his eldest son Raymond. 

Elizabeth inherited her parents’ interest in politics and even as a teenager established a reputation for being strong-willed and determined.   In 1909 she urged the playwright George Bernard Shaw to write a play for her to produce and have performed by child actors for charity.   This he did and “The Fascinating Foundling” was the result.

During the First World War when her Father was Prime Minister, Elizabeth continued her fund-raising work in aid of the wounded and organised concerts, recitals, poetry readings and plays.

In 1919, she married Roumanian Prince Antoine Bibesco who was a diplomat.   The couple lived in Paris and had a daughter, Priscilla, who was born in 1920.  Elizabeth continued to write and also travelled extensively with her husband, who was Roumania’s Ambassador to Washington, USA in 1920 and to Madrid, Spain in 1927.

Elizabeth was in Roumania during the Second World War and she died there on 7th April 1945.

Her poetry collection “Poems” was published in 1927.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Florence Ripley Mastin (1886 – 1968) – American poet, writer and teacher

Many thanks to Janet who contacted me recently with regard to women poets of the First World War.  Janet’s e-mail reminded me that I have not posted much recently about the poets on my list, so I decided to research one that Janet mentioned.

Florence Ripley Mastin was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA on 18th March 1886.  She was educated at Tappen Zee College before going on to study at Barnard College, Columbia University.  Florence had one of her poems published when she was fourteen years old.

After graduation, Florence taught English and creative poetry at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York.   She had her work published in many publications such as the New York Times, the Saturday Review, Poetry and the New York Herald-Tribune.

A collection of Florence’s poems entitled “Green Leaves” was published in 1918 by J.T. White.  Florence died in Rockland County in 1968.


Wednesday 12 July 2017

Beatrice M. Barry - ?

Matt Jacobsen of the wonderful website  has been in touch with me again, to give me the name of another Female Poet of the First World War.  is where I found a great deal of very interesting information when I first began researching – beginning with Mildred Aldridge.  Thank you Matt.

Matt sent me:
“… a poem by a lass named Beatrice Barry - I know zip about here, beyond the fact that she appeared often in the New York Times weekend magazine, "Current History". I hope you find it useful.”

I certainly have Matt – thank you for sending me on another amazing journey researching the women poets of WW1.  I haven't yet been able to find out anything about Beatrice M. Barry either, other than the fact that she had poems published in the "New York Times" - if anyone can help please get in touch.

“ANSWERING THE ‘HASSGESANG’ “ By Beatrice M. Barry – was one of the poems written in response to the poem written by German poet Ernst Lissauer (1882 – 1937) -  “Hassgesong gegen England” (A Hymn of Hate against England) which was published in a pamphlet in August 1914 “Worte in die Zeit – Flugblatter 1914 von Ernst Lissauer”.  You will find the text of the original German of Ernst Lissauer’s poem, together with a translation by Barbara Henderson by following this link:

French and Russian, they matter not,

For England only your wrath is hot;  

But little Belgium is so small

You never mentioned her at all —

Or did her graveyards, yawning deep,

Whisper that silence was discreet?

For Belgium is waste! Ay, Belgium is waste!

She welters in the blood of her sons,

And the ruins that fill the little place

Speak of the vengeance of the Huns.

"Come, let us stand at the Judgment place,"

German and Belgian, face to face.

What can you say? What can you do?

What will history say of you?

For even the Hun can only say

That little Belgium lay in his way.

Is there no reckoning you must pay?

What of the Justice of that "Day"?

Belgium one voices — Belgium one cry

Shrieking her wrongs, inflicted by



In her ruined homesteads, her trampled fields,

You have taken your toll, you have set your seal;

Her women are homeless, her men are dead,

Her children pitifully cry for bread;

Perchance they will drink with you — "To the Day!"

Let each man construe it as he may.

What shall it be?

They, too, have but one enemy;

Whose work is this?

Belgium has but one word to hiss —



Take you the pick of your fighting men

Trained in all warlike arts, and then

Make of them all a human wedge

To break and shatter your sacred pledge;

You may fling your treaty lightly by,

But that "scrap of paper" will never die!

It will go down to posterity,

It will survive in eternity.

Truly you hate with a lasting hate;

Think you you will escape that hate?

"Hate by water and hate by land;

Hate of the head and hate of the hand."

Black and bitter and bad as sin,

Take you care lest it hem you in,

Lest the hate you boast of be yours alone,

And curses, like chickens, find roost at home


First published in “The New York Times” on 16th October 1914.

From “Contemporary War Poems” (New York American Association for International Coalition)

Monday 12 June 2017

Catherine Wells (1872 - 1927) - British

If you follow my weblogs you will know that I quite often receive information from people regarding new poets, etc. to research.  I am very grateful for such help with this project.  Today I had an e-mail from Henry Gott of Blackwells Rare Books in Oxford.

Henry said: “have just been cataloguing 'The Book of Catherine Wells', a collection of stories and poems by the wife of H.G. Wells; it includes a trio of war poems - 'Spring 1915', 'June 1916', and 'Red Cross Workroom; 1917'. These were new to me - it doesn't mention where they were first published, if indeed they were published prior to this volume.”

Catherine Wells (1872 – 1927) was the second wife of the writer Herbert George (H.G.) Wells (1866 – 1946).

Catherine was born Amy Catherine Robbins in Islington on 8th July 1872.   Her parents were Frederick and Maria Catherine Robbins.   Catherine, who was known as Jane, was a student of H.G. Wells.  They were married in St. Pancras, London in 1895.
After Catherine’s death in 1927, Wells had her poetry and short story collection published under the title “The Book of Catherine Wells” published by Chatto & Windus in 1928.

Catherine's poem "Red Cross Workroom; 1917" tells us about her contribution to the war effort:

Daily here my body sits, My fingers tearing bandage strips,
My drilled eyes watch the pattern fits,
My agile scissor cuts and snips,
But truant Brain leaps out at play
And flies to some pellucid day
And suddenly I seem to hear
A sea maid singing at my ear
And straight am with her on a strand
Of cockle shells and pearly sand.
Where rainbows crown the leaping surf
And green weed wraps the rocks with turf.
We wreathe her yellow hair with weed
And play with coriander seed
And coral beads and horns of pearl -
The while that here my body sits,
My fingers tearing bandage strips.

(From "The Book of Catherine Wells" - short stories and poems - published in 1928 after Catherine's death by Chatto and Windus, London, 1928, page 201).

Sunday 11 June 2017

Ianthe Bridgman JERROLD (1898 - 1977) - British

Ianthe was born in Kensington, London, UK in 1898.  Her parents were Walter Copeland Jarrold, a journalist and author, and his wife Clara Armstrong Jarrold, nee Bridgman, who was also a journalist and author.  Ianthe was one of six daughters – Daphne, b. 1899, Phyllis, b. 1899, Hebe, b. 1901, Althea, b/ 1902 and Florence, b. 1913.   Walter’s brother Cyril was a teacher of blind people.

In 1901, the family are listed as living in Kingston in Surrey.
Ianthe married George J. Menges in Paddington in 1927.   She was a very successful writer and travelled to America several times between 1947 and 1958.   She died in Kensington in 1977.

Ianthe had her first volume of poetry published when she was a schoolgirl during the First World War, under the title "The Road of Life and Other Poems" (Erskine Macdonald, London 1915) in the series Little Books of Georgian Verse.

Sources: Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) Find my Past, Free BMD and

Thursday 8 June 2017

Nora C. Hotblack (1866 - 1949) - British

I was looking through Reilly's Bibliography of First World War English poetry when I noticed an entry HOTBLACK N. and had to find out more.
Nora Constance Hotblack was born Nora Constance Candler in Lee, Kent, UK in 1866.  She married Herbert Arthur Hotblack (1858 - 1899) in Lewisham, Kent in June 1885.
On the 1901 Census, Nora is listed as a Widow and Owner of a Brewery - Kidd and Hotblack in Brighton. Also listed are Norah N. Hotblack, b. 1890 and Frank A. Hotblack, b. 1896. A cousin of Nora - Mary E. Candler - was also living in the house in Cuckfield, Sussex. 
Nora wrote a volume of poems entitled "Stray thoughts", which was originally called "A few poems" and published by Stockwell in 1924.   Frank A. Hotblack, who served in the British Army during WW1, edited his mother's volume of poems.  Reilly mentioned that no copies of the first and second editions of the collection were traced.
If anyone has any further information please get in touch as I should like to add Nora to my List of Female Poets of the First World War. 
Sources: Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978) p. 174.  Find my Past and Free BMD.

Monday 22 May 2017

Eleanor Alexander (1857 - 1939) - Poet

Eleanor Jane Alexander was born in 1857 in County Tyrone, Ireland.  Her father was the Rev. William Alexander, an Anglican priest, who became Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and her mother was the poet and hymn writer Cecil Frances Alexander, nee Humphreys.  Eleanor’s father also wrote and published poetry.  Eleanor had the following siblings – Robert Jocelyn, b. 1852, Cecil John Francis, born in 1859, and Dorothea Agnes, born in 1861.  Their mother died in 1895.  

Eleanor's brother, the poet Robert Jocelyn Alexander, was killed on 10th October 1918 when he was travelling from ireland to Britain aboard the RMS "Leinster" when the ship was torpedoed and sunk.

Eleanor never married and lived with her father in Devon when he retired. After the death of her father in 1924, the King granted Eleanor permission to live in rooms in Hampton Court Palace in honour of her father’s lifetime of service.  She died there on 3rd June 1939.  Eleanor’s body was returned to Londonderry for burial.  She had lived there for much of her life and her family were buried there.

Eleanor’s poems were included in seven WW1 poetry anthologies and were also published in “The Times”, “The Spectator” and the “Belfast Telegraph”.

The following lines, taken from Eleanor’s “Commemorative Ode”, were written by Eleanor in late June 1917 to mark the first anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.  She dedicated the poem to the memory of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  The poem was published in “The Belfast Telegraph”:

‘Heaven for a moment; heaven, then hell,

Into the sunshine yellow on the grass

With brows uplifted, stern-lipped, glad they pass

To shot and splitting shell.

Now in the open, now at last

For love of liberty in England’s name,

To prove the soul of Derry’s ancient fame,

The mettle of Belfast

Not tear-dimmed, downcast, follow higher

Proud eyes, the well-beloved that toil and strain

In battle-storm and death and bitter pain

Through enfilading fire.

On to the trenches burrowed deep –

What of the brave, the brave who fight and fall

On to that last line in the smoke’s grey pall,

To have, to hold, to keep.’

Find my Past and Catherine Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978)

Thursday 30 March 2017

Update re Joyce Amphlett

Researcher/historian Phil Dawes found out more about Joyce Amphlett:
"As you know, Marian Joyce was the daughter of a wealthy farmer. She was educated at home in 1901 and 1911. The house in which the family lived in 1911 had 4 servants and 16 rooms.

Joyce married Harold Mence Gardner at Upton (Malvern) in 1920. Her sister married in 1921.

She became elusive after that. As her husband was a forestry student ( he too was the son of a wealthy local farmer) I thought they might have gone abroad and they did: to Kenya. Harold worked his way up the Colonial Civil Service ladder to become Conservator of Forests, Kenya by 1938.  He was also appointed to the legislative council in 1933.

Harold was already in Kenya as a young forestry officer when WWI broke out. He fought in the East Africa campaign but became ill from malaria and returned to forestry.

After the war he must have returned home often enough to meet up with local girl Joyce.

They were on holiday in the UK in 1939 at census time. Harold was staying with her parents - several servants were listed. Joyce was almost certainly there too but her record is 'officially closed' for some reason.

They were good Christians and helped to found and build St. Francis Church in Nairobi. This is explained on their remembrance plaque in that church.

When Harold died in 1979 the “Nairobi Standard” newspaper published a fairly lengthy biography. It mentions Joyce and their five surviving children and fifteen grandchildren.

Joyce died in 1985."

And Steve Millward has found a reference to one of their children - Charles Amphlett Gardner - being made a District Officer in Fort Hall, Kenya on 14th July 1959.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Query regarding Maud Anna Bell (?1861 - 1947?)

I received an interesting query recently about the WW1 poet Maud Anna Bell and wondered whether anyone could help:

“As Maud Anna Bell was working for the Serbian Relief Fund, I'm interested to know if Maud ever went to the Front through her work.

I also found the poem 'Crocuses at Nottingham' attributed to a Miss Jessie Bell in “The Times” from 1917, so was wondering what had happened there.”

During the course of my previous research about Maud Anna Bell, I noticed that Catherine W. Reilly mentions her In the WW1 poetry anthology “Scars upon my heart”, saying that Bell “campaigned actively for the Serbian Relief Fund".  I have not been able to find any further information as to whether Bell actually travelled to Serbia.

Maud Anna Bell is also included by Catherine W. Reilly in her “English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), on page 52, as having poems included in two WW1 anthologies:

“A Treasury of War Poetry:  British and American poems of the World War, 1914 – 1919” (Boston, Mass., Houghton Mifflin, 1919, edited by George Herbert Clarke


“A Treasury of War Poetry:  British and American poems of the World War, 1914 – 1919” (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1919) – in both these the title of the poem is “From a Trench”.

Immediately above the entry for Maud Anna Bell is an entry for a Maud Bell who published a WW1 collection of poems entitled “London songs and others (poems)” (Bristol, Horseshoe Publishing Company, 1924.   Could this be the same person?

Following up one lead regarding the Serbian Relief Fund, I began to look at The Church League for Women's Suffrage and came across this very well researched and written site which gives a great deal of information about some wonderfully inspirational women:

Details on the Church League for Women's Suffrage -

Maud's poem appeared in “The Times” as by "M. B. H." according to Carrie Ellen Holman's anthology, the “Day of Battle: Poems of the Great War” (Toronto, 1918), but it could have been misread.

Has anyone any further information about Maud Anna Bell please?

Thursday 16 March 2017

An interesting MA thesis about women's poetry in WW1

While researching Maud Anna Bell. I came across this extremely interesting piece of research work about the poetic response of women to the First World War.  Written by Amy Helen Bell in December 1996 for an MA at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada I found this full of interesting points

Sunday 26 February 2017

Wimereux, France

One hundred years ago, on 27th February 1917, Kitty Amorel Trevelyan died in Wimereux, France after contracting Measles and developing Pneumonia.  Kitty had been working for the British Army Service Corps canteens as a volunteer helper.  I wonder which hospital she was treated in? 

Among the poets who were nurses during WW1 was Rosaleen Graves, sister of the soldier poet and writer Robert Graves.  Rosaleen's poem "The Smells of Home" was the first poem written by Rosaleen that I read. I was so impressed that I had to find out more about her.

Rosaleen was born in Wimbledon on 7thMarch 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  not only a  poet but also an accomplished musician. She joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment on 17th September 1915 and, after initial training in Chislehurst and London, 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 - not in time to help Kitty Treveleyan. 

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.

Kitty Trevelyan was 19 years old when she died.  Kitty had volunteered at the outbreak of war, which would have been quite difficult for her as she was under age.  She joined the British Army Service Corps Canteens and was sent to France.  Kitty's parents were the late Captain Walter Raleigh Trevelyan from Dublin and his wife, Alice, who had re-married and become Mrs Sinclair.  Kitty lived with her mother in the village of Meany in Devon before the war.

Sue Robinson of the Group Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man's Land has been researching Kitty for many years and regularly visits Kitty's grave in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.   Sue has managed to get Kitty's name inscribed on the War Memorial in Meany and a special service of dedication is to be held there today - Sunday, 27th February 2017.

Along with Kitty in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, you will find the graves of some of the other women who died while serving during the First World War: Mildred Clayton-Swan, Emily Helena Cole, Isabella Duncan, Margaret Evans, Jessie Hockey, Nita King, Alice Lancaster, Rubie Pickard (who at 67 is among the oldest of the volunteers during WW1), Barbara St. John, Anna Whitely, Christina Wilson and Myrtle Wilson.  "We will remember them…"

Sources:  Commonwealth War Graves Commission List of Female Casualties of the First World War, Sue Robinson of Wenches in Trenches The Roses of No Man's Land and "The Winter of the World Poems of the First World War" Eds. D. Hibberd and J. Onions (Constable & Robinson Ltd., London, 2007)