Posted 28 July 2011 - 11:51 am
This is an amazing forum topic, this is my first posting.
Has anyone mentioned the fact that Wilfred Owen's (The War Poet) letters to his mother set great detail of his time in Folkestone while waiting to embark for France for the last time... he was killed one week before the end of the war.
I am trying to discover the name of the mailboat he actually sailed on at 3pm on Saturday 31st August 1918. I believe it was a Isle of Mann ferry commissioned by the Admiralty. Maybe King Orry (3)
This is an excerpt of his letter written to his mother on the Saturday Morning... (Wilfred Owen Collected Letters by Harold Owen & John Bell)
To Susan Owen
Postcard postmark Folkestone
Sat. Mng [Postmark 31st August 1918]
Am writing in a hairdresser's shop waiting for a shave. Found no room in Hotels so got put up in an Officers' Club, thanks to S. Moncrieff's knowledge of the region. Got up at 5.30 this mng. & caught train in good time. On the train I was astonished to meet Major Fletcher, the P.M.C. you remember, who settled up my accounts last Monday, not dreaming he himself would be pushed off on Tuesday. But here he is, & I am very glad & shall try to keep with him; he used to be 2nd in command of the 5th in France.
We go on board at 3p.m. Will write from Boulogne.
love and good cheer W.E.O x
and the next letter to his mother was the same day.. but some of it is missing (his brother Harold heavily censored some of the letters, ...so much is lost to history)
Sat, 31st August 1918
E.F.C., Officers Rest House and Mess
(half page missing) Arriving at Victoria I had to wheel my own baggage down the platform & through the streets to the Hotel, which was full. But I got a bed (as I (half page missing)
My last hours in England were brightened by a bathe in the fair green Channel, in company of the best piece of Nation left in England - a Harrow boy, of superb intellect & refinement, intellect because he detests war more than Germans, and refinement because of the way he spoke of my going away; and the way he spoke of the Sun; and of the Sea, and the Air; and everything. In fact the way he spoke.
And now I go among cattle to be a cattle-driver . . .
I am now fairly and reasonably tired & must go to my tent, without saying the things which you will better understand unsaid.
Oh my heart,
Be still; You have cried your cry, you played your part.
Did I ever send you Siegfried's poem which he wrote on the boat: (Siegfried Sassoon)
For the last time I say War is not glorious;
Tho' lads march out superb & die victorious,
And crowned by peace, the sunlight on their graves;
You say we crush the Beast; I say we fight
Because men lost their landmarks in the night,
And met in gloom to grapple, stab, & kill.
Yelling the fetish names of good & Ill
which have been shamed in history.
O my heart,
Be still; you have cried your cry, you have played you part!
You are at home; yet you are home;
Your love is my home, and I cannot feel abroad.
an amazing piece of history I think you will agree... if anyone can help with details of the boats I would be most grateful.
I am writing on behalf of The Wilfred Owen Story, Birkenhead (www.wilfredowenstory.com)