Saturday, 7 October 2017

Mabel Goode (1872 – 1954) – British

It is always exciting to find another poet and browsing through a book recently, see left, I discovered that Mabel Goode, who kept a war diary, also wrote poetry.  On pages 160 - 161 of this wonderful book about Mabel's WW1 diary, you will find some of Mabel's First World War Poetry. 

Mabel was born on 27th October 1872 and, according to her Great-Great Nephew who edited her WW1 diary, Mabel was brought up by her Step-Mother because her parents died before her tenth birthday. 

The family lived in Germany from 1881 – 1887 and Mabel went to the Slade School of Art on her return from Germany.  During the Second World War she lived in Ulverston in the Lake District.  Ulverston was in Lancashire at that time.  Mabel died in 1954.  

"The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode" Edited by Michael Goode with a Foreword by Sir Chris Clark. Published by Pen & Sword (Barnsley, S. Yorkshire, UK, in 2016).  

I am hoping to find out more about Mabel soon.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Lily Horswill (1877 - 1944) - British

If you follow my weblog regularly, you will know that from time to time I receive messages from relatives of the poets on my list.

Actress and theatre producer Fidelis Morgan contacted me recently about her Great Aunt Lily Horswill, who is mentioned on page 174 of Catherine W. Reilly’s “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978).

Fidelis sent me some information about her Great-Aunt, so I went on Find my Past to complete the picture:

LILLIAN EMMA HORSWILL (1877–1944) - British

Lily was born on 17th August 1877 in Tunnel Hill, Claines, Worcestershire, UK.  Her parents were William Henry Upham Horswill, a furniture salesman, and his wife Amy, nee Chatttaway.  Lily had the following siblings: Charles H., b. 1865, Herbert W., b. 1867, Edith A., b. 1871, Lizzie A., b. 1875, Florence E., b. 1881, Walter P., b. 1883 and Sydney, b.1884.

Lily’s brother Walter, who was Fidelis’s Grandfather, served in the Army during WW1 and was badly injured during the Battle of Ypres.  Fidelis knew him as a child and he never recovered from being gassed.

In 1911, the Horswill family was living at no. 15 Warburton Road, Seaforth, Lancashire and it seems that Lily was still living there in 1939. 

Lily died on 31st August 1944 at The Little Retreat, Great Leighs, Essex.

According to Catherine W. Reilly, Lily Horswill published a poem entitled “Duty’s Call” in Liverpool in 1914.  I have not been able to trace a copy of the poem and wondered if anyone could help please.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Barbara Garnons Williams - British

Frances Mary Barbara Garnons Williams was born in 1889.  Her father was British Army Officer and Welsh Rugby Union Player Richard Davies Garnons Williams, a landowner, and her mother was Alice Jessie Garnons Williams, nee Bircham.  In 1911, the family lived in Waundererwen Hay, Hay Urban, Breconshire, Wales,


Barbara Garnons Williams was educated at Godolphin School, Salisbury, Wiltshire, In Kensington in 1916, Barbara married Roderick Buckley Hume, a solicitor and director of Buckley’s Breweries in Llanelly, Wales.


Barbara was serving in France when her husband, a Captain in the Welsh Guards, who had been invalided home from Gallipoli and served in Egypt and on the Western Front, where he was wounded at the Battle of Ypres, was killed at Cambrai on 1st December 1917.  Her father, a Lieutenant-Colonel, although retired from the Army, served again in WW1 and was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos.


Barbara’s Uncle, Aylmer Herbert Garnons Williams, was in command of the Lancashire Navy League Sea Training Home in Liscard.


The following poem written by Barbara was published in the Godolphin School Magazine “The Godolphin Gazette” in the Summer Term 1915:





“Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”


Forth! Though the din of battle sounds but faintly

            O’er English woods and lanes.

Forth! For it thunders loud and still more loudly

            On French and Belgian plains.


Forth! And though many hundreds fall beside them,

            Though cannon thunder loud,

Yet they stand fast, unbroken and undaunted,

            Awe-stricken, yet uncowed!


Forth! For from blood-drenched earth, in purple trenches

            Their comrades call them home;

“Fresh are the laurels, bright the crowns immortal,

            Therefore, our brethren, come!”


Forth! Across yards hail-swept with shrapnel,

            While great shells burst above,

They meet the death their brothers found before them

            And know the “greater love.”


Forth! And though heads are bowed and eyes are weary,

            Only one thing they see:

That flag which sets their brains and pulses bounding

            To set their England free!


Forth! And they come from many lands and islands,

            Yet all are one in death.

And for one end and for one great tradition

            They give their latest breath.


Forth! They are heroes, and their lives are precious,

            And some of great renown.

Yet each one finds a larger life and fuller

            In laying this life down.


Oh, God of Battles! Grant them rest from striving,

            Make all their warfare cease!

Give that, which passes all our understanding,

            Thine own eternal Peace.



With grateful thanks to Lucy Beney, herself a former Godolphin School pupil, for searching through the WW1 copies of "Godolphine Gazette" and sending me some fantastic poems written by female poets, including the poem written by Barbara Garnons Williams.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Poem by a woman munitions worker in WW1 Bedfordshire

Well in time for our Christmas Wish Lists, here is news of a WW1-related book to be published on 2nd October 2017 by The History Press - “Sand, Planes and Submarines: How Leighton Buzzard shortened the War” by Paul Brown and Delia Gleave.   To pre-order a copy please see the following link:

I am reliably informed there will be some WW1 poems written by women munitions workers (see photo from the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives) and a chapter about local nurses.  Definitely a must buy.

With thanks to Elise Ward who posted mention of the poems on Debbie Cameron's Facebook Page Remembering Women on the Home Front WW1.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Elizabeth Bibesco, Princess (1897 – 1945) – British writer, poet, playwright, actress, producer.

Elizabeth Charlotte Lucy Asquith was born on 26th February 1897 in London.  She was the first-born child of Herbert Henry Asquith, the British Liberal politician, and his second wife, Emma Alice Margaret, nee Tennant, who was known as Margot.  Elizabeth had a brother, Anthony (1902 – 1968), who became a film director.  Their half-siblings were Raymond (1878 – 1916), Herbert junior (1881 – 1947), Arthur, b. 1884, Helen Violet (1887 – 1969) and Cyril (1890 – 1954).  Herbert Asquith senior was the British Prime Minister from 1908 until 1916, when he became ill following the death during the Somme Offensive of his eldest son Raymond. 

Elizabeth inherited her parents’ interest in politics and even as a teenager established a reputation for being strong-willed and determined.   In 1909 she urged the playwright George Bernard Shaw to write a play for her to produce and have performed by child actors for charity.   This he did and “The Fascinating Foundling” was the result.

During the First World War when her Father was Prime Minister, Elizabeth continued her fund-raising work in aid of the wounded and organised concerts, recitals, poetry readings and plays.

In 1919, she married Roumanian Prince Antoine Bibesco who was a diplomat.   The couple lived in Paris and had a daughter, Priscilla, who was born in 1920.  Elizabeth continued to write and also travelled extensively with her husband, who was Roumania’s Ambassador to Washington, USA in 1920 and to Madrid, Spain in 1927.

Elizabeth was in Roumania during the Second World War and she died there on 7th April 1945.

Her poetry collection “Poems” was published in 1927.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Florence Ripley Mastin (1886 – 1968) – American poet, writer and teacher

Many thanks to Janet who contacted me recently with regard to women poets of the First World War.  Janet’s e-mail reminded me that I have not posted much recently about the poets on my list, so I decided to research one that Janet mentioned.

Florence Ripley Mastin was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA on 18th March 1886.  She was educated at Tappen Zee College before going on to study at Barnard College, Columbia University.  Florence had one of her poems published when she was fourteen years old.

After graduation, Florence taught English and creative poetry at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York.   She had her work published in many publications such as the New York Times, the Saturday Review, Poetry and the New York Herald-Tribune.

A collection of Florence’s poems entitled “Green Leaves” was published in 1918 by J.T. White.  Florence died in Rockland County in 1968.


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Beatrice M. Barry - ?

Matt Jacobsen of the wonderful website  has been in touch with me again, to give me the name of another Female Poet of the First World War.  is where I found a great deal of very interesting information when I first began researching – beginning with Mildred Aldridge.  Thank you Matt.

Matt sent me:
“… a poem by a lass named Beatrice Barry - I know zip about here, beyond the fact that she appeared often in the New York Times weekend magazine, "Current History". I hope you find it useful.”

I certainly have Matt – thank you for sending me on another amazing journey researching the women poets of WW1.  I haven't yet been able to find out anything about Beatrice M. Barry either, other than the fact that she had poems published in the "New York Times" - if anyone can help please get in touch.

“ANSWERING THE ‘HASSGESANG’ “ By Beatrice M. Barry – was one of the poems written in response to the poem written by German poet Ernst Lissauer (1882 – 1937) -  “Hassgesong gegen England” (A Hymn of Hate against England) which was published in a pamphlet in August 1914 “Worte in die Zeit – Flugblatter 1914 von Ernst Lissauer”.  You will find the text of the original German of Ernst Lissauer’s poem, together with a translation by Barbara Henderson by following this link:

French and Russian, they matter not,

For England only your wrath is hot;  

But little Belgium is so small

You never mentioned her at all —

Or did her graveyards, yawning deep,

Whisper that silence was discreet?

For Belgium is waste! Ay, Belgium is waste!

She welters in the blood of her sons,

And the ruins that fill the little place

Speak of the vengeance of the Huns.

"Come, let us stand at the Judgment place,"

German and Belgian, face to face.

What can you say? What can you do?

What will history say of you?

For even the Hun can only say

That little Belgium lay in his way.

Is there no reckoning you must pay?

What of the Justice of that "Day"?

Belgium one voices — Belgium one cry

Shrieking her wrongs, inflicted by



In her ruined homesteads, her trampled fields,

You have taken your toll, you have set your seal;

Her women are homeless, her men are dead,

Her children pitifully cry for bread;

Perchance they will drink with you — "To the Day!"

Let each man construe it as he may.

What shall it be?

They, too, have but one enemy;

Whose work is this?

Belgium has but one word to hiss —



Take you the pick of your fighting men

Trained in all warlike arts, and then

Make of them all a human wedge

To break and shatter your sacred pledge;

You may fling your treaty lightly by,

But that "scrap of paper" will never die!

It will go down to posterity,

It will survive in eternity.

Truly you hate with a lasting hate;

Think you you will escape that hate?

"Hate by water and hate by land;

Hate of the head and hate of the hand."

Black and bitter and bad as sin,

Take you care lest it hem you in,

Lest the hate you boast of be yours alone,

And curses, like chickens, find roost at home


First published in “The New York Times” on 16th October 1914.

From “Contemporary War Poems” (New York American Association for International Coalition)