Tolkien and the Somme

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Kyt, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Article by Martin Gilbert

    The Cutting Edge News

  2. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Excellent article. I had read that LotR was deeply rooted in Tolkien's experiences.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    It's good to read eye witness accounts ... especially from Tolkien !!

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

    John Tolkien author of the Lord of the Rings endured life in the front line trenches of the Somme throughout the summer and autumn of 1916. The impact of the Battle remained with him for the rest of his life and its influence can be clearly seen in his unique mythological world and stories.

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born of British parents in Bloemfontein South Africa, but moved with his mother Mabel Tolkien, to England at the age of was three. Tolkien lost his father when he was very young - in 1904 Tolkien's mother died, and the young John Ronald Reuel moved with his brother Hilary to aunt's home in Birmingham ( though I also read that from the age of 12, he and his brother were looked after by a local priest ) From 1908 Tolkien studied at Oxford. In 1915 he was awarded First Class Honours degree in English Language and Literature - the next year Tolkien married Edith Bratt whom he had met in 1908.

    He obtained a commission in the army as a Second Lieutenant and in June 1916 Tolkien went to France and was posted to the 11th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers. From July onwards his battalion went in and out of the line along the northern sector of the Somme. He occupied front line trenches in Beaumont-Hamel, Serre and the Leipzig Salient. On 28 September they undertook a successful raid against the Pope’s Nose opposite Thiepval and on 21 October helped to capture Regina Trench for both of these actions Tolkien served as Battalion Signalling Officer.

    At the end of October, weighed down by weeks of tension and wretched conditions, Tolkien contracted trench fever and was sent back to hospital in Birmingham ( I also read he was shellshocked ! ) He remained unfit for the rest of the war.
  4. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

    Great post.

    Thanks Kyt.



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