Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Bob Ogley, author and former editor of the Sevenoaks Chronicle, gave a lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘War Poets’ , assisted by his wife who read some of the poems.

There were many well known poets writing in World War I who early on backed Kitchener’s appeal for volunteer recruits to the Army.  Rupert Brooke, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, described serving in the Army in a devastated Antwerp.  He also wrote 4 sonnets, including ‘The Soldier’, before dying from septicaemia in 1915.  Many 1st World War poets came from the South East, including Sigfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden and Rudyard Kipling.  Rudyard Kipling encouraged his son, John, to enlist but John died in battle.  In Spring 1915, John McCrae wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’, one of the best known poems of the War.

The attrition of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, with huge losses for little gains, led to the ugly reality of the War being reflected in Sassoon’s poetry in 1917, compared with his patriotic verse earlier in the War.  He made friends with Wilfred Owen, who in 1917 described the hell of being at the front in a poem emphasising the horrors of war.  Edmund Blunden was only 22 when the War ended but he suffered nightmares until his death many years later.


War Poets by Bob Ogley.