Monday 28 June 2021

Henriette Tayler (1869 - 1951) – WW1 poet and nurse

With thanks to Historian Debbie Cameron for finding this information for us  

Helen Agnes Henrietta Tayler was born in Chelsea, London, UK in 1869. Her parents were William James Tayler, Laird of Glenbarry, and his wife, Georgina Lucy, nee Duff.  Known to family and friends as Hetty, her siblings were an elder sister, Constance and a younger brother, Alistair.  The family lived in London but every summer they travelled up to William Tayler’s childhood home - Rothiemay House, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

Henriette served with the French Red Cross during WW1.  After the war, she served in Italy, nursing civilians and servicemen suffering from 'Spanish flu'. She wrote her story - “A Scottish Nurse at Work: Being a Record of what One Semi-trained Nurse Has Been Privileged to See and Do During Four and a Half Years of War”  In Hetty's own words: ‘We did all our work in eucalyptus masks and everything was disinfected, even our letters.”

Maggie Craig has written a new book about Scottish nurse Henrietta Tayler.

With thanks to Lizbet Tobin and Eric Webb for additional information.

Henriette'a poem

Sources:  Find my Past]-R&c[0]=AT1FmUfOmMqoSQfh_NqeokPVAfGfcSqH0KZivzVclMZ1y1Po2TyTV3HqszAE67RB52g54Rmt42sFsf6GHKaqVZGoPgZmUEK_qgS2O8Abclf9XJoBbNcj_OSp9Y8Jdt97X1gubrisPF2fDfFvIc6IrFMoneupr3XZCG35h-7e2Je8bWkaAptrMxSIMa3-0KfqzNBmb1Eb

Friday 25 June 2021

Inez Quilter (1904 – 1978) – British schoolgirl WW1 poet

With thanks to John Seriot for reminding me I had not posted this, though Inez is included in Volume 2 of Female Poets of the First World War

Inez was born on 22nd January 1904.  Her parents were Sir William Eley Cuthbert Quilter, Second Baronet and MP for Sudbury, and his wife, Gwynedd Quilter, nee Douglas-Pennant.

Her paternal grandfather – Sir Cuthbert Quilter – was one of the founders of the “National Telephone Company” and his telephone number was “London One”. 

In April 1955, Inez married former Yorkshire and MCC cricketer Brigadier Raleigh Charles Joesph Chichester-Constable, who was awarded the DSO in both world wars.

Raleigh died in 1963 and Inez in 1978.

Inez wrote this poem when she was eleven years old and it was included in “The Blue Cross Code”, a WW1 anthology published by Jarrolds in 1917. 

‘Sall’: (In Aid of the Wounded Horse)

I’m none of yer London gentry,

Non o’ yer Hyde Park swells,

But I’m only a farmers plough horse

And I’se born among hills and fells.

Yer mus’n’t expect no graces

Fer yer won’t get ‘em from me,

I’se made as nature intended

An’ I’m jus’ plain Sall, d’ye see.

You’ve not seen me in the Row yet

An; yer won’t, if yer try so ‘ard,

I’m not a shoow ‘orse yer forget

But I’m Sall, plain Sall, and Sall goes ‘ard!


Find my Past, Free BMD, 

Cahterine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) pp. 2 and 259.

Monday 7 June 2021

“What Time The Morning Stars Arise” by Jean Blewett commemorating RNAS Lt Reginald Warneford VC

On 7th June 1915, Flight Sub-Lt Reginald Warneford of the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS( was awarded a Victoria Cross for destroying a Zeppelin in mid-air by dropping bombs on it. One exploded, setting the Zeppelin on fire, overturning Warneford's plane and stopping its engine. He landed in German territory but managed to re-start the engine and returned safely to base.  Lt Warneford was also awarded the French Legion of Honour for his action.  

Sadly, Lt Warnford was killed the day he received his French medal – on 17th June 1915 – as his plane crashed while taking a journalist on a non-combat mission. Canadian poet Jean Blewett wrote a poem about Warneford’s exploit :

“What Time The Morning Stars Arise” 

by Jean Blewett published in “Canadian Poets”, edited by John William Garvin (McClelleland, Goodchild & Stewart,Toronto, 1919), pp. 195 - 196 

 ABOVE him spreads the purple sky,

  Beneath him spreads the ether sea,

And everywhere about him lie

  Dim ports of space, and mystery.

Ho, lonely Admiral of the Fleet !

  What of the night? What of the night?

'Methinks I hear,' he says, 'the beat

  Of great wings rising for the flight.'

Ho, Admiral neighbouring with the stars

  Above the old world's stress and din !

With Jupiter and lordly Mars–

  'Ah, yonder sweeps a Zeppelin!

'A bird with menace in its breath,

  A thing of peril, spoil and strife,

The little children done to death,

  The helpless old bereft of life.

'The moan of stricken motherhood,

  The cowardice beyond our ken,

The cruelty that fires the blood,

  And shocks the souls of honest men.

'These call for vengeance–mine the chase.'

  He guides his craft–elate and strong.

Up, up, through purple seas of space,

  While in his heart there grows a song.

'Ho, little ship of mine that soars

  Twixt earth and sky, be ours to-day

To free our harassed seas and shores

  Of yonder evil bird of prey !'

The gallant venture is his own,

  No friend to caution, pray, or aid,

But strong is he who fights alone,

  Of loss and failure unafraid.

He rises higher, higher still,

  Till poised above the startled foe–

It is a fight to stir and thrill

  And set the dullest breast aglow.

Old Britain hath her battles won

  On fields that are a nation's pride,

And oh the deeds of daring done

  Upon her waters deep and wide!

But warfare waged on solid land,

  Or on the sea, can scarce compare

With this engagement, fierce, yet grand,

  This duel to the death in air.

He wins ! he wins in sea of space !

  Why prate we now of other wars

Since he has won his name and place

  By deathless valour 'mong the stars?

No more that Zeppelin will mock,

  No more will sound her song of hate;

With bursting bomb, and fire, and shock,

  She hurtles downward to her fate.

A touch of rose in eastern skies,

  A little breeze that calls and sings,

Look yonder where our hero flies,

  Like homing bird on eager wings.

He sees the white mists softly curl,

  He sees the moon drift pale and wan,

Sees Venus climb the stairs of pearl

  To hold her court of Love at dawn.

Previous post about Jean Blewett (1872 – 1934)