War Poets on the Western Front (4 Days)

The poetry produced at the outbreak of war drew upon a rich literary heritage in reflecting the national mood with its emphasis upon duty, honour, glory & willing sacrifice. As reality dawned, the experience of war began to exert its influence in the shape of stoic acceptance. The Somme marked a watershed. For many, optimism & trust in the old certainties of King & Empire gave way to cynicism, despair & disillusion. The output of many war poets came to reflect these attitudes. This tour will place the poetry of the Great War in situ on the battlefield to consider how it  came to reflect these changing attitudes.


Day One: Outward TravelLangemark_Bunker

06.00 (approx): Local pick-up & travel to Dover for
cross-Channel ferry to Calais. Onward travel & check-in at accommodation in/near Ypres
Evening meal arrangements as chosen by the group


Day Two: War Poets at Ypres

Hooge, Langemark German Cemetery, Pilckem Ridge
Gas Attack, Essex Farm Cemetery & Dug-outs, Ypres
& the Menin Gate. 20.00: Last Post at the Menin Gate
Overnight accommodation in/near YpresGrenades_&_Bullet_Clip
Evening meal arrangements as chosen by the group


Day Three: War Poets on the Somme

The Pals at Serre, Newfoundland Park Preserved Battlefield, Thiepval Memorial to the Missing,
Blighty Valley, Ovillers & “Mash” Valley,
Dartmoor Cemetery, Mametz & Mansel Copse
Check-in at accommodation in/near Arras
Evening meal arrangements as chosen by the groupThiepval_Memorial_to_the_Missing


Day Four: War Poets at Arras & Vimy

Edward Thomas’s & Isaac Rosenberg’s graves,
Vimy Ridge Reconstructed Trenches, Visitor Centre
& Memorial to the Missing
Depart for Calais & cross-Channel ferry to UK
Disembark in Dover & return to drop-off point


Pick-up & drop-off times are dependent upon the
group’s proximity to Dover. This is a suggested
itinerary & can be amended to suit theLewis_Gun_Magazine
requirements of the group.


War Poets: Historical Framework

1870-1914: A Changing Europe & Causes of WWI
1914: Mobile Warfare & the Schlieffen Plan
Winter 1914/15: Trenches established on the Western Front. The BEF (Regulars): 1st Battle of Ypres
1915: Stalemate & the Territorial Army; 2nd Ypres: Gas
1916 Offensive: Why the Somme?
The Volunteer Army: Kitchener’s PalsVimy Memorial: Mother Canada
1917: Attrition & the Conscript Army, Messines
& Passchendaele
1918: Kaiser’s Offensive; Advance to Victory,
breaking the Hindenburg Line & Armistice


War Poets: Literary Themes

The historiographical literary reservoir of military–themed
allusions prior to 1914. The War’s reception: Idealism,
Patriotism, Nationalism & Jingoism
Rupert Brooke, Lawrence Binyon, Noel Hodgson,Trench_&_Artefacts
Jessie Pope & John Freeman
Poetry of Resolution, Stoicism & Experience: McCrae,
Sorley & Halliday
War’s reality: Poetic focus altered; sentiments unchanged
Literary Home Front & literary War Front; women’s poetry:
Vera Brittain, May Wedderburn-Cannan &
May Herschal-Clarke
Disillusion & Disaffection:
Changed perceptions at the Front: cynicism & bitterness
The Pity of War, consequences of War & aftermath
Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Edmund Blunden & Robert Graves

War Poets: Useful Links

Click on the links below for information about poets featured on this tour:

John McCrae Noel Hodgson Isaac Rosenberg

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