Sunday 23 November 2014

First World War husband and wife poets - Joyce (1886 - 1918) and Aline (1888 - 1941) Kilmer

Aline was born on 1st August 1888 in Norfolk, Virginia.  Her parents were Ada Foster Murray, also a published poet, and Kenton C. Murray, who edited the “Norfolk Landmark” newspaper.   

Alfred Joyce Kilmer was born on 6th December 1886 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  His parents were Annie Ellen Kilmer, née Kilburn, who was a writer/composer, and Dr. Frederick Barnett Kilmer, a physician/chemist.

Aline’s Father died in 1895 and in 1900, her Mother remarried Henry Mills Alden, the Managing Editor of “Harpers’ Magazine”.

Aline and Joyce were educated at Rutgers College Grammar School, where they met.   They were married on 9th June 1908.

When their daughter Rose contracted Polio, Joyce and Aline converted to the Roman Catholic faith. 

Joyce Kilmer enlisted in the New York National Guard in May 1917, in response to America joining the conflict and his Regiment was posted to the Western Front, where he joined the 69th US Infantry Regiment with the rank of Sergeant.  He later joined his Regiment's Intelligence Unit and was killed by sniper fire on 30th July 1918. He is buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Picardy, France. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery.  

After her husband's death in the First World War, aline had her first collection of poetry published under the title "Candles that Burn" in 1919.   She continued to write poetry and also wrote children's books. Aline died in Stillwater Township in New Jersey on 1st October 1941.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Bournemouth, UK in WW1 - Mont Dore Military Hospital

How many times have I walked past this building without knowing anything about its history! My grandparents used to live near Bournemouth.

In 1881 a boarding house in Bournemouth called The Glen was pulled down and a hotel was built called the Mont Dore Hotel which opened in 1895.   The foundation stone for the new building was laid by His Majesty King Oscar II of Norway and Sweden.

During the First World War, the hotel was requisitioned for use as a military hospital and became the Mont Dore Canadian Military Hospital.    Since 1921, the building has been Bournemouth's Town Hall. 

Photogtaphs now and then from Google Images.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Review of "Into the Danger Zone" - book about crossing the Atlantic in The First World War

I found out about this book by Tad Fitch and Michael Poirier via Facebook where the authors have a pre-publication page which they up-date from time to time.  I was fascinated so I sent them a message to find out more.  My Father used to work in the dock area of Liverpool in the 1960s when the shipping industry was very busy.  I used to love to go with him and admire the wide variety of ships on the River Mersey, from lighters and tugs to ocean-going liners and Father often talked about famous sea battles of both world wars (he was six years old when The Great War broke out). Imagine the trauma of worrying about submarines and mines when undertaking sea journeys from crossing the English Channel (which many civilians did either to go and work on the Western Front or to visit sick or wounded relatives) to crossing larger areas of water such as the Irish Sea or The Atlantic.

As I have a keen interest of anything to do with the sea and also about The First World War, I felt this book to be an absolute 'MUST READ'.  Here is a review from Amazon:

"As the First World War loomed, the transatlantic passenger trade was at its peak and, as the enormity of the conflict grew, many liners were conscripted into military service. In an attempted counter-blockade of the UK, German U-boats began sinking Allied merchant vessels, in some cases sparking international outrage. Eventually it was the declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 that drew the previously neutral United States into the conflict. By war’s end, the U-boats had managed to sink over 5,000 ships, killing 15,000 people in the process. Into the Danger Zone recounts what it was like for both military personnel and civilians alike to experience a sea voyage at a time of war, when they could encounter any number of dangers, including U-boats, mines and enemy surface vessels. Attacks were frequent and tragedy all too common. Using a wealth of unpublished, rare and fascinating first-hand accounts, illustrations and photographs, Fitch and Poirier present an engaging history of this often-neglected chapter of the twentieth century."

With many thanks to Tad and to Michael for their hard work in putting this book together and for answering my many queries.  I had no idea they were based in the United States of America - I wish they would go on a world tour to promote their book then perhaps we in the UK could meet them.