To mark the centenary of the CWGC’s foundation by Royal Charter in 1917, a ground-breaking exhibition is being staged at CWGC Brookwood Military Cemetery near Woking, Surrey.

It was officially opened on Saturday 20 May by English actor and adventurer Brian Blessed OBE and will run for six months.

For Then, For Now, Forever celebrates the first 100 years of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Curated by CWGC Archivist Andrew Fetherston, it is being staged in the Grade 1 listed Canadian Records Building at Brookwood Military Cemetery – the largest CWGC site in the UK with more than 5,000 burials and 3,500 commemorations on the Brookwood Memorial.

The exhibition tells the history of the CWGC from its foundation during the First World War through to the present day, using historic objects and artefacts from our archive and collections.

Many of the exhibits have never been publicly displayed before. They include an original First World War grave marker and a petition from the 1920s addressed to our then-President, HRH Edward, Prince of Wales. The petition contains more than 8,000 signatures – predominantly from mothers who had lost sons in the war – asking the Commission to reconsider the use of a uniform headstone in favour of a cross.

These and other objects tell the sometimes difficult story of how the vision of one man — Fabian Ware — came to forever change the way we remember the war dead.

There are also daily tours at 11am and 5pm, from volunteers, telling individual and collective stories of the cemetery and of those commemorated there.

For more details please visit www.cwgc.org or email community@cwgc.org

 

Jennie Sweeney
Head of Community Engagement

EDWARD THOMAS: A LIFE IN PICTURES, by Richard Emeny

In June 2017, Enitharmon Press will be publishing the long awaited illustrated biography of Edward Thomas by the Edward Thomas Fellowship’s chairman, Richard Emeny. This is the culmination of many years’ study of the poet’s life and work and draws also on Emeny’s extensive knowledge of Thomas’s family, friends, literary associates, publications and the places he either lived or visited. Offering in some ways a revisionist biographical portrait, the book combines the story of Edward’s life with numerous illustrations, including photographs, printed material, maps and original letters, many of which have never been published before. It will add significantly to what is already known of Thomas and his family before and after his death by putting his biography into a visual and historical context.

 

SUBSCRIPTION OFFER

Those of you who wish to subscribe to Richard Emeny’s book in advance of publication may opt to have your names included in a ‘List of Subscribers’ to be printed at the end of the book. The publication price will be £30, which is inclusive of postage within the UK. To subscribe (the deadline for subscribers is Thursday 13 April), please email: info@enitharmon.co.uk, telephone Enitharmon on 020 7430 0844, send a cheque payable to Enitharmon Editions to 10 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL, or visit the Enitharmon website page with this link: http://www.enitharmon.co.uk/product/thomas-life-pictures/


UNDER THE SAME MOON: EDWARD THOMAS AND THE ENGLISH LYRIC, by Edna Longley

A hundred years ago Edward Thomas was killed in the Battle of Arras (April 1917). The reputation of his poetry has never been higher. Professor Edna Longley has already edited Thomas’s poems and prose. She now marks his centenary, and adds to the growing field of Thomas studies, with this close reading of his poetry. Longley places the lyric poem at the centre of Thomas’s poetry and of his thinking about poetry. Drawing on Thomas’s own remarkable critical writings, she argues that his importance to emergent ‘modern poetry’ has yet to be fully appreciated. Thomas, as a leading reviewer of poetry in the early 1900s, was deeply engaged with the traditions of poetry in the English language, as well as with contemporary poetry. Under the Same Moon takes a fresh look at Thomas’s relation to the Romantic poets, to Great War poetry, to Robert Frost, to W. B. Yeats. By making detailed comparisons between their poems, Longley shows how the aesthetics of Thomas and Frost complement one another across the Atlantic. She argues, perhaps controversially, that we should think about Great War poetry from the perspective of Thomas as ‘war poet’ and critic of war poetry. And she suggests that to focus on Thomas is to open up poetic relations in the ‘Anglo-Celtic’ archipelago. Under the Same Moon is also a study of lyric poetry: its sources, structures and forms; the kinds of meaning it creates. Longley asks what exactly happened when, in December 1914, Thomas morphed from a prose-writer into a poet; and she approaches the lyric from a psychological angle by comparing Thomas with Philip Larkin.

£25 hardback, April 2017. To order, please email: info@enitharmon.co.uk, telephone Enitharmon on 020 7430 0844, send a cheque payable to Enitharmon Editions to 10 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL, or visit the Enitharmon website page with this link: http://www.enitharmon.co.uk/product/under-same-moon/

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Closing Date is 15th Septemeber

Entrants must be 25 or Under

 

‘War poetry’ is a phrase that, for many of us, brings to mind the lines of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon   – “what passing-bells for these who die as cattle?”; “O, but Everyone/ Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.” The poetry of the First World War has been consistently anthologized, remembered and studied in classroom and universities across the world. The poetry of the Second World War, in contrast, seems to have much more of a fragile grip on our public consciousness – although this is a balance that many are seeking to redress.

The Poetry Society’s Timothy Corsellis Prize, hosted on Young Poets Network, was created and memory of a young poet and pilot killed in 1941 at the age of 20. Timothy Corsellis’ poems explore the experience of the Blitz and the combined boredom and exhilaration of flight training. Originally a conscientious objector, Timothy volunteered for the RAF in 1940. However, horrified to be put under Bomber Command, which would involve the bombing of civilians, he requested a transfer, and before his death, spent six months as an Air Raid Precautions Officer, helping civilians through the Blitz. There is a fascinating biography of Timothy here on the War Poets Association website if you’d like to find out more, and you can also hear actor Tim Bentinck reading Timothy’s poems ‘Engine Failure’ and ‘Dawn After the Raid

planesThe Timothy Corsellis Prize, named in his memory, was originally launched in 2014 and encourages young poets up to the age of 25 to explore the poetry of the Second World War, and the lives and legacies of its authors, by producing their own poetic responses. The 2016 Prize profiles the work of seven poets writing during the war years: Keith Douglas, Sidney Keyes, Alun Lewis, John Jarmain, Henry Reed, and Anna Akhmatova.

All these poets – lesser-known to many than Sassoon, Owen or Rosenberg, but poets of just as much power – wrote with great insight of their experience of war. Keith Douglas noted that “Hell cannot be let loose twice”, and there seems to have been a sense of this among poets of the Second World War, resulting in a markedly different – although no less vivid or valuable – style of war poetry. You can find out more about each of the seven poets featured in this year’s prize, and read examples of their work, by following the link to this special article on Young Poets Network.

The winner of last year’s Corsellis prize, Jenny Burville-Riley, used Alun Lewis’ poem ‘All Day It has Rained’ as the inspiration for her own haunting tribute and prize-winning poem:

Sunrise

Hovering ghosts in Himalayan foothills
skin beautifully cool, eyes
hollow as spent cartridges
we exhale smoke from Victorys
by the side of a road that passes
the convalescence hospital.
Rough cut layers of mountain above
march in sturdy sequence to
a towering crescendo of white summits.
Geology softens in morning light
transforms to crumpled piles of jumble
waiting to be rifled through.
Beneath, a lone Sherpa
starts his slow ascent, bent back
burdened with a baby grand piano
stiff legs skyward as a big game trophy.
We watch the weighted figure
with amazement for the Sherpa
is a mere eighth-rest of a man.
“Look at that lazy bugger”
quips Dusty and quick laughter
landslides in a throaty scree.

Jenny writes: “In Lewis’s poem there is the juxtaposition of mundane details such as “darning dirty socks” with dramatic images such as “dropping bombs on Rome” and “herded refugees”. I tried to create juxtapositional images too: a raw, rugged environment vs the strange, unexpected appearance of a refined instrument – the baby grand piano – on a man’s back!”

Young Poets Network has already received many fantastic entries to the 2016 Corsellis Prize, and it’s encouraging more! As well as poetry, Young Poets Network also welcomes the insights of essayists in its Corsellis Young Critics Prize, which runs concurrently with the poetry prize, and asks you to write about which three poets of the seven listed above you think are most likely to be read in twenty years’ time, and why.

Both prizes are open to all young writers aged 25 and under, living anywhere in the world. The deadline for all entries is Monday 15 September.

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The judges for both prizes will be Professor Fran Brearton (for the War Poets Association), a leading authority on war poetry; Nic Vanderpeet from Imperial War Museums; Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society, and, new to the panel this year, Wendy Cope, noted poet and author of, among other collections, Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amis.

Prizes include book tokens, a selection of poetry goodies, and publication on Young Poets Network. The first prize poem will be published in The Poetry Society’s quarterly paper Poetry News, and the first prize essay will be published on The Poetry Society’s website.

For more information and for details of how to submit your work, please visit the Timothy Corsellis Prize page on Young Poets Network.

Young Poets Network is The Poetry Society’s online platform for young poets up to the age of 25. Here you’ll find features about poets and poetry, challenges and competitions to inspire your own writing, new writing from young poets, and advice and guidance from the rising and established stars of the poetry scene. We also bring you the latest news and ideas from the writing world, and a list of competitions, magazines and writing groups which particularly welcome young writers.

Young Poets Network would like to thank the Corsellis family for their generosity in establishing this Prize and their continuing support of The Poetry Society.

 

 

 

From the article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/my-father-robert-graves-the-war-poet-who-cheated-death/?WTmcid=tmgoff_soc_spf_fb&WT.mc_id=sf31585123

On July 22, 1916, Colonel Crawshay, the commanding officer of the 2nd battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, sat down to compose a letter. It was the same perfunctory note he had already written so many times in the opening weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

“Dear Mrs Graves,” he began. “I very much regret to have to write and tell you your son has died of wounds. He was very gallant, and was doing so well and is a great loss.”

The Graves he referred to was the young Captain and poet, Robert, struck by an exploding shell a few days shy of his 21st birthday. The shrapnel had pierced his lung, and the Army medics who found him on the battlefield presumed he would not last the night.

Robert Graves in his war uniform
Robert Graves in his war uniform CREDIT: FAMILY ARCHIVE

But 6ft2ins and with a toughness that belied his poetic verse, Graves survived that, and the subsequent jolting hospital train ride to Rouen; even if he arrived in such a terrible state that doctors described him as a “hopeless case”. By the time his obituary appeared in the British press, Graves was homeward bound and healing, writing letters to redress the premature news of his demise.

From that moment until he finally lost his faculties and died aged 90 in 1985, the poet continued to furiously scribble; his work never done. And now, in the same house on the same Spanish island where Graves lived for most of his adult life, his son strives to continue that legacy.

“As far as I’m concerned, what he did during his life didn’t matter as long as his works are remembered,” William Graves says.

William Graves and his father Robert
William Graves and his father Robert CREDIT: FAMILY ARCHIVE

The 76-year-old is striking not only for the startling resemblance to his father (he possesses the same high forehead, full lips and shock of greying hair) but also for the fact that he and his siblings represent the very last surviving direct links to the poets of the First World War. Siegfried Sassoon’s only son died in 2006, while the likes of Richard Aldington and Ivor Gurney never had children of their own in peacetime. Isaac Rosenberg, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke were killed during the war.

Of the 16 Great War poets commemorated on a stone in Westminster Abbey, only Graves, and the lesser known Herbert Read and Edmund Blunden, are still survived by their children.

William Graves is tanned and slim from a lifetime spent on Mallorca. Strolling in the afternoon sun past lemon and plum trees in the grounds of the home his father built in 1932, he recollects a treasure-trove of stories of Graves’s eccentricities, celebrity companions, affairs, and cruelty.

Robert Graves's house on the outskirts of the village of Deià
Robert Graves’s house on the outskirts of the village of Deià CREDIT: HEATHCLIFF O’MALLEY

Graves called this place on the outskirts of the village of Deià, high up in the towering limestone range of Serra de Tramuntana, Ca N’Alluny (The Faraway House), but even here he could not escape his demons. The horrors of what he had seen during the war and which he had documented in his 1929 biography, Goodbye To All That, remained seared on his consciousness.

As he became racked with dementia during the last 20 years of his life, he retreated ever closer to the trenches. William recalls his father cowering from loud bangs and putting his stick out to try and halt his wheelchair if pushed too fast.

“The last 10 years he didn’t know who anybody was,” he says.

William, who calls his father Robert, first spotted the start of this decline in 1963 when he received the same letter twice. Soon his father, then in his late 60s, started losing his glasses and struggling to write.

William Graves
William Graves CREDIT: HEATHCLIFF O’MALLEY

It was at this advanced stage of life, William says, when his father began to adopt his “muses”, young international pseudo-intellectuals that he hosted in the marital home.

“He started needing more input for his poems and that is when he started having flirts with young girls,” William says. “So long as they behaved badly then he could write poems.” Did he sleep with them? “He’d just had a major prostate operation so it wouldn’t have done him much good.”

Even before his formidable mind began to be undone, Graves had already passed a colourful life. He married twice; first to painter Nancy Nicholson, who produced four children before he left her for the American poet Laura Riding and eloped to Spain.

In 1936 they were forced into exile by the Spanish civil war. Riding eventually fell for another man and Graves met his second wife, Beryl Pritchard, a dark-haired Oxford University graduate 20 years his junior. During World War Two they rented a house in Devon and had three children, William, Lucia and Juan (who died last year). Their fourth, Tomas, was born in Mallorca in 1953 after they had moved the entire family back at the end of the war.

William, Lucia and Juan in 1951
William, Lucia and Juan in 1951 CREDIT: FAMILY ARCHIVE

William, who has two grown up children of his own, recalls an idyllic youth playing with the offspring of his father’s famous friends. An eight-year-old Stephen Hawking was an early pal – he remembers him delighting in setting off stink bombs – and he once provoked the fury of Alec Guinness after taking his teenage son Matthew to the beach and plying him with strong local wine.

While his father revelled in the exotic company, William remembers his mother as a quiet Victorian presence. “She was very closed,” he says. “If you started talking about anything personal she would start talking about cats. It was that generation.”

What, then, did she make of his muses? “As long as he kept quiet and didn’t rock the boat she didn’t care. Well, she cared, but realised there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it.”

William, who combined his career as a geologist with running a hotel in Deià with his Spanish wife Elena, recalls “vicious” arguments with his father later in life.

Beryl and Robert in 1949
Beryl and Robert in 1949 CREDIT: FAMILY ARCHIVE

In his own autobiographical book, Wild Olives, published in 1995, he describes the bizarre scenario of his father trying to plant marijuana in the hotel to get them into trouble with the local constabulary. “You were either with him or against him,” he says.

When Graves died in December 1985 William says he was “amazed” to learn he had been appointed an executor of his estate. One of his first acts was to publish an anthology of the war poems which Graves had suppressed during his life, deeming them “juvenile” and uninteresting. The Imperial War Museum retains a number of the poems in its archive including one which still bears a muddy imprint of the writer’s thumb.

Following the death of his mother in 2003, the family decided to sell the house to the local government and have it preserved as a living museum to Graves’s life and work, of which William is unpaid director. Today everything remains in situ.

In his study his notes are still attached to the clipboard he used to carry wherever he walked. The ancient coins and Neolithic axe-head Graves once rubbed for inspiration are still on the mantelpiece. The Georgian candlesticks and tins of Colman’s mustard and Cadbury’s Cocoa show that even in exile Graves never lost his innate sense of Englishness.

The poet's headstone
The poet’s headstone CREDIT: HEATHCLIFF O’MALLEY

The village itself, though, has changed beyond recognition. Celebrities followed the bohemians to Deià and Bob Geldof, Michael Douglas and Andrew Lloyd Webber now keep holiday homes in the mountain. Most recently, the Tom Hiddleston series The Night Manager was filmed here.

William says the culture change was enough to make him and his wife sell up their own home in 2007 and move to the Spanish mainland (although they still keep a flat in nearby Palma and his sister Lucia remains in the village).

Modernity wearies, and he does not know for how much longer he will keep coming here and dusting off the ghosts of his past.

But for now, like his father before him, he remains driven to keep his own history alive.

January 18th 1935-November 19 2014

The death of Jon Stallworthy has saddened all who knew him, and all who knew his work. His numerous books – his acclaimed biography of Owen, his edition of Owen’s Complete Poems and Fragments, his study Between the Lines: Yeats’s Poetry in the Making, or, most recently, his New Oxford Book of War Poetry – both set the standard for the scholarly criticism and editing of war poetry, and brought countless readers to a deeper appreciation of the work of some of the century’s finest writers. More than anyone else in the last fifty years, he has shaped and enabled our understanding of the poetry written across two world wars. He tirelessly promoted the work of others – as editor, as critic, and as friend. Yet he was also a gifted poet himself, a poet of both love and war. This is from his 2009 sequence ‘War Poet’:

Without you, I am learning

about death. It cannot be true

that you – you – you –

and my numbness turning

 

to anger. But however slow

the fire, however deep the seam,

it will burn out, they say, in time.

In time for what? Forgiveness? No.

 

Acceptance? How should I resign

Myself to knowing that you lie

Under another sky

In other arms than mine?

 

Fran Brearton

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high…

            From In Flanders Fields by Lt-Col John McCrae (1872- 1918)

And Finally

Words don’t usually fail me, but it’s hard describe the three and a half days we’ve just spent in the Ypres area, on a battlefield tour organised by The War Poets Association. Does it seem a strange thing to choose to do – guided through those terrible, magnificent cemeteries in Flanders, maintained with such care and honour by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission? To study the work of great poets who have helped to define the First World War for us? To reflect on numbers of the dead so vast, so unfathomable, so indescribably cruel that your head reels and your eyes stare with incomprehension, beyond weeping?

            Sad and exhausting it certainly was (although we also had merriment and good conversations with like-minded people in our group) yet you return with your mind freshly angry at the thought of the catastrophic carnage while your spirit is humbled and uplifted by the power, the pity of war. Two years ago we went (with the same group) to The Somme; this centenary year we had to make another pilgrimage.

            A similar spirit of remembrance is taking thousands of people to see the powerful ceramic poppy installation at The Tower of London, knowing exactly what it represents as they stand silent before its beauty. We too were silenced at Tyne Cot, the largest cemetery (nearly 12,000 names) for Commonwealth Forces in the world – and also at Langemarck, where the total number of German soldiers buried or commemorated stands at 44,234. And each name invoking grieving mothers, wives, sweethearts, grandparents, children….

            So in love, awe and gratitude we went to bow our heads before history and sacrifice. On Monday night we were present at the 29,744th ceremony of remembrance at the great Menin Gate in Ypres (or ‘Wipers’ as my grandfather called it, who was there). As the crowd of something like 2,000 stood to hear the Last Post and then the band of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment played our National Anthem, I felt so very proud to be British. And I know that the fight to uphold and protect our values can never end.

BEL MOONEY
AUTHOR AND DAILY MAIL COLUMNIST

Carcanet have recently announced  the publication of War Poet, selected poems by the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award winner Jon Stallworthy and Fall In, Ghosts: War Prose by Edmund Blunden, edited by Robyn Marsack. Jon Stallworthy wrote a biography of Wilfred Owen and Edmund Blunden was an early editor of Owen’s poetry.

War Poet by Jon Stallworthyimage002

Jon wrote his first poems during schooldays shadowed by the Second World War and a mother’s memories of a brother and friends killed in the First. At school, too, he was introduced to the poems of Wilfred Owen, whose biography he would later write, and to those of others who would be represented in his Oxford Book of War Poetry (1984, 2nd edition 2014).

 Jon Stallworthy attended Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize of Poetry. A Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature, he is a Professor of English Literature at Oxford. His biography of Wilfred Owen won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

image005Fall In, Ghosts: Selected War Prose by Edmund Blunden

Edmund Blunden moved among the ghosts of the Great War every day of his long life, having survived the battles of Ypres and the Somme. His classic prose memoir, Undertones of War, and his early edition of Wilfred Owen’s poems were just two examples of the ways in which he sought to convey his war experience, and to keep faith with his comrades in arms. His poetry is suffused by this experience, and he was haunted by it throughout his writing life, as the men with whom he had served gradually joined the ranks of the departed.

 Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) was born in London. He received his commission in 1915 and served throughout the war, earning the Military Cross and, unusually, evading physical injury. Returning to Oxford in 1919 he became a close friend of Robert Graves and later Siegfried Sassoon. He went on to a long and successful literary and academic career, including positions as Professor of English at the Universities of Tokyo and Hong Kong, Assistant Editor of the Times Literary Supplement and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. In 1947 he was part of the British liaison mission to Tokyo. He died at home in Suffolk in 1974.

 Robyn Marsack is the director of the Scottish Poetry Library. She completed her BPhil at St Anne’s College, Oxford and her DPhil at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. She recently edited an anthology of translations by Mikhail Lermontov.

Stephen Tyler, founder and musical director of Reading A440 Choir, has composed choral settings of “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “Futility” and “The Next War”.  He has posted a video on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chPIYiEa_AE

Stephen has written about setting Owen to music in an article on the choir’s website:

http://www.a440choir.com/ww1feature/settingwilfredowen

A440 Choir is featuring Owen in its performances throughout 2014. Performances include singing in a vigil service at All Saints, Dunsden, on August 4th

The Death of Innocence
October 25—28 2014

A study tour that contrasts the jubilation of August 1914 as expressed by Rupert Brooke in ‘Now God be Thanked’ with the sombre reflection to the stalemate of the trenches and the futility of war in Charles Sorley’s ‘When you see Millions of the Mouthless Dead’. Besides examining the writing and poetry of the early months of the war we will spend time examining the work of the architects of the Imperial War Graves Commission who were challenged to commemorate those who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country.

Our tour looks at the events between August 1914 and December 1915 through the eyes of the writers and poets who commented on the tumultuous upsurge of patriotism and excitement that swept through Britain (and other warring nations) as war broke out. Brooke was in good company. He was joined by Gibson, Hodgson, Binyon, Rosenberg, Owen and many others who greeted, with patriotic excitement, the conflict that was to become the ‘War to End All Wars’ . The Great War was the first major literate war and the commentaries by the poets reflect not only their emotions but their response to the cataclysmic events that were unfolding.

Of course it was to be ‘Over by Christmas’ and thus the only concern was to join the fight before the opportunity was missed and the writers conveyed this joyous mood as they went to war. Some reflected on the cost Binyon’s For The Fallen, which includes the prophetic ‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old’ was written not after the slaughter of the Somme but in September 1914, long before the casualty rates grew to an industrial scale.

The bloody and futile battles of 1915, small in comparison with the killing fields of the later bloodbaths, saw many of the early idealists killed; Brooke died in Salonika, Sorley was killed at Loos and Julian Grenfell died of woundsin a base hospital. It was also the year that many of the later, great, writers were to join the conflagration. Edmund Blunden, Edward Thomas, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and David Jones began their war whilst Isaac Rosenberg, Ivor Gurney, Wilfred Owen all joined the swelling ranks of the army. During our tour we follow the journeys of all these writers as well as those from the other combatant nations. Their commentaries are the vivid images that form the backdrop of the war that was to kill over 10 million men, wound and maim twice that number and send millions more back to their families and communities, haunted by the most hideous memories.

The cost of the sacrifice caused a grateful nation to commemorate ‘permanently and in perpetuity’ those who had made the supreme sacrifice, and our tour will examine the work of the Imperial War Graves Commission who were tasked with interpreting Sir Fabian Ware’s vision; their ‘Silent Cities’ and ‘Memorials to the Missing’ are now the footprints of those wee follow to war and, in many cases, to their death.

Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 25th October
Our luxury coach leaves Victoria Coach Station late morning for a Eurotunnel channel crossing. Arriving in France by mid-afternoon we head for Ypres which will provide the backdrop to the tour and we are intro-duced to the Salient with a visit to the world famous In Flanders Fields Museum in the iconic Cloth Hall. In the late afternoon we drive to the Altia Hotel in Neuville en Ferraine. Before dinner we meet for an aperitif which accompanies a short presentation to the background for the tour and an introduction to the places and people who will feature in our journey.

Day 2 Sunday 26th October
After a full buffet breakfast we depart from the hotel to travel to the 1915 battlefields. Here we visit Dud Cor-ner Cemetery and the Loos Memorial to the Missing before looking at the story of My Boy Jack and Kipling’s search for his son. We take in the architecture of the Indian Memorial at Neuve Chapelle and other significant sites in the area. A picnic lunch, with wine, is provided. Many of the great writers in the Great War fought, and wrote, in this area and we will hear their stories at the places that shaped their writing. We return to Ypres in the late afternoon and check in to The Albion Hotel in the centre of the historic town. Near to the hotel The Wipers Times was printed in the town ramparts and we are within easy walking distance for both the Menin Gate and Grote Markt with its many restaurants. Group members choose their own dining venue.

Day 3 Monday 27th October
After breakfast in the new dining room we depart from the hotel for a day in the Ypres Salient and follow the story of many important people in our story. We visit Essex Farm where John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields, Artillery Wood Cemetery to hear the stories of Hedd Wynn and Francis Ledwidge. We visit Sir Herbert Baker’s Tyne Cot, the largest British
cemetery in the world before travelling to the Irish Peace Park to study the work of the Irish poets who fought during the war. During the day we will study Blunden, ‘Tubby’ Clayton, Roland Leighton, Vera Brittain, Julian Grenfell and Bruce Bairns-father as well as visiting the site of the 1914 Christmas Truce. We return to the hotel and enjoy dinner together at a restau-rant in Ypres town centre.

Day 4 Tuesday 28th October
After a buffet breakfast we check out of the hotel to visit sites en route to our inbound shuttle. These include Brandhoek Mili-tary Cemetery and the new visitors centre at Lijssenthoek which has links to Ivor Gurney and several other important literary characters. After a picnic lunch we return to Calais and the group is due back at Victoria for their onward journeys at around 6.00 pm.

Please note that these notes are for guidance only as the final detailed planning will take place during the summer. If you would like to reserve a place on the tour please complete the accompanying booking form and return to Eyewitness Tour with a non-refundable deposit of £50. There are 40 places available and these will be sold on a ‘first come first served’ basis. The cost of the tour is £450 per person (£85 single room supplement). Included in the price are all travel costs, 3 nights accommodation in 2/3* hotels, dinner on Saturday and Monday evenings, a packed lunch on three days, museum entry, all fees, a comprehensive reading list and full background notes to the tour.

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