Soldier and poet: letters and diary 1910-1915
Edited by Kate Thompson
Hardback, xxvi + 362 pages
These papers form part of the Panshanger archives, which is probably the most important collections held by HALS. These letters relate to his Army service in India, South Africa and on the Western Front. While there are references to Hertfordshire this volume is of less interest to the majority of people researching their family history in Hertfordshire than others in the Hertforshire Record Publications series.
From the Dust Cover
Julian Henry Francis Grenfell was the eldest son of William Henry Grenfell, first Baron Desborough (1855-1945), and his wife, Ethel (Ettie) Anne Priscilla Grenfell (1867-1952), the daughter of Julian Henry Charles Fane and his wife, Lady Adine Cowper. Their family home was at Taplow Court, Buckinghamshire but in 1913 Ettie inherited Panshanger near Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire from her aunt Lady Katrine Cowper.
Standing over six feet in height and with 'an immense enjoyment of life', he joined the army in 1910. He served with his regiment in India and South Africa until, on the outbreak of the first world war, after a brief stay in England, he was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Julian appeared to love war and not to fear death. He became noted for his courage and won the DSO for one particular feat. At Ypres, in late May 1915, he was wounded by a shell splinter which penetrated into his brain and, despite two operations, he did not survive. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Boulogne. As a minor first world war poet his best known poem 'Into Battle' was published in The Times on the day after his death.
Throughout his army service Julian wrote long, descriptive letters home to his family and friends. Previously only partially transcribed, these letters are published here in their entirety. They add immeasurably to the body of knowledge of the first world war, a conflict that continues to fascinate and appal in equal measure. In addition an Appendix contains extracts from Julian's and Ettie's diaries.