“I died in hell. They called it Passchendaele.”-Siegfried Sassoon
(“The Battle of Passchendaele, fought July 1917, is sometimes called the Third Battle of Ypres. For the soldiers who fought at Passchendaele, it was known as the ‘Battle of Mud’. Few battles encapsulate World War One better than the Battle of Passchendaele.”-historylearningsite)
Siegfried Sassoon, British Poet, Soldier and Writer was born today, September 8th, in 1886 in Kent, England. He fought in WWI and his poems conveyed the horrors that he witnessed and his pleas to help soldiers and prevent wars.
“Born into a wealthy Jewish family, sometimes called the “Rothschilds of the East” because the family fortune was made in India, Sassoon lived the leisurely life of a cultivated country gentleman before the First World War, pursuing his two major interests, poetry and fox hunting. His early work, which was privately printed in several slim volumes between 1906 and 1916, is considered minor and imitative, heavily influenced by John Masefield (of whose work The Daffodil Murderer is a parody). Following the outbreak of the First World War, Sassoon served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers, seeing action in France in late 1915. He received a Military Cross for bringing back a wounded soldier during heavy fire. After being wounded in action, Sassoon wrote an open letter of protest to the war department, refusing to fight any more. “I believe that this War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it,” he wrote in the letter. At the urging of Bertrand Russell, the letter was read in the House of Commons. Sassoon expected to be court-martialed for his protest, but poet Robert Graves intervened on his behalf, arguing that Sassoon was suffering from shell-shock and needed medical treatment. In 1917, Sassoon was hospitalized.”-poetryfoundation
“Siegfried Sassoon was one of the first writers brave enough to use poetry to describe war as it really is: brutalising, destructive, horrific, and an indefensible waste of human lives.”-ppu (peoplepledgeunion)
SUICIDE IN THE TRENCHES
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
ARMY RELEASES JULY 2013 SUICIDE INFORMATION