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Today, 11th November, is Remembrance Day - a memorial day observed in the UK and many other countries.
It’s a tradition that began at the end of the First World War, a moment to remember the men and women who had died in battle as hostilities finally ended on 11th November 1918 - the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
The symbol of Remembrance Day is the poppy - the flower that bloomed across the battlefields of Flanders, their brilliant red a powerful reminder of the blood that had been spilled.
In England, the First World War came at a time soon after homosexual contact of any kind had been outlawed - the penal code was amended to include this prohibition in 1885. It’s been reported that during the First World War, 22 officers and 270 enlisted men from the British army were court-marshalled for homosexuality.
Adding a bit of drama to the picture is what was happening in Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II’s cabinet and entourage was caught up in a series of court-martials and libel trials from 1907–1909 in what is now described at the Eulenburg affair. Homosexuality was illegal in Germany at that time. Journalist Maximillian Harden made an accusation of homosexual conduct between Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg-Hertefeld, and General Kuno, Graf von Moltke. The publicity surrounding the accusations included the emergence of the phrase Liebenberg Round Table to describe the circle of gay men that apparently surrounded the Kaiser. While the accusations may have initially been politically motivated, the fall-out saw numerous trials, resignations, arrests, accusations, and blackmail. It ended the career and influence of the moderate Eulenburg - some commentators point to this as being a contributing factor to the outbreak of World War I.
War often inspires great writing, and some of the most powerful work to emerge from World War I came from the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen - both widely recognised as gay men.
Sassoon enlisted in 1914 and served on the Western Front. While studying at Cambridge, Sassoon had had a relationship with David Cuthbert Thomas - Thomas was shot and killed in 1916. Sassoon wrote two poems in his memory - A Letter Home, and The Last Meeting.
I called him, once; then listened: nothing moved: Only my thumping heart beat out of time. Whispering his name, I groped from room to room. Quite empty was that house; it could not hold His human ghost, remembered in the love That strove in vain to be companioned still.
Sassoon met Owen in 1917, when they were both at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland. Owen had enlisted in 1915. Owen’s celebrated work, Anthem for Doomed Youth, is a result of the time spent with Sassoon at Craiglockhart.
Owen died in action in 1918 in northern France. Sassoon survived the war, later writing:
W’s death was an unhealed wound, and the ache of it has been with me ever since. I wanted him back - not his poems.
But poems and memories are all that we have to celebrate Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Philipp Eulenburg, and the millions of other men and women who have lost their lives in war.
As Wilfred Owen wrote in 1918, in the preface of a collection of poems that he hoped to publish:
My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn.
“They absolutely loved the book and it really held their interest!” Ms Sonja Dunne, Teacher, St. Mary’s Boys National School
“The kids all loved it!” Ms Anne Marie Breathnach, Teacher, St. Patrick’s Boys National School
“I loved how the socks kept going, even though it was hard, when one of the socks was stuck in the basket,” Alex, aged 5
“Hooks readers into wanting to follow their adventures,” Alice Bethan Thomas, creativity workshop coordinator for children
“It's a lovely book! Sweet story, fabulous illustrations!” Ms Karen Ní Chondubh, Teacher, Caherelly National School
About the author
Niall Cunniffe was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, and has an MA in Writing the Modern World from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Before turning to children’s books, he made cartoons and won a Young Filmmaker of the Year award (Fresh Film Festival 2011) and a special award from Brown Bag Studios (Peter Rabbit, The Octonauts) for “inventive talent.” Editor for a small publisher by day, Scott and the Runaway Sock is his first book for children.
Barhale is a civil engineering and infrastructure specialist with over 35 years experience in the construction industry. Founded by their Chairman, Dennis Curran in 1980, the group was originally set up as a specialist tunnelling contractor. Whilst they retain our tunnelling roots, repeated success in several sectors of the construction industry has enabled them to expand their skill set and become one of the largest privately owned infrastructure specialists in the UK.
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Get an insight into Clyde & Co! Whether you’re set on law or you’re still deciding if it’s the career for you, come join us at our London or Manchester offices for an Insight Day. Insight Days are an excellent way for you to gain real insight into our firm and culture... More Information
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JLL's 'LGBT+ Networking Breakfast' will give students from a variety of LGBT+ backgrounds the opportunity to network with our LGBT+ employees over pastries, tea and coffee to find out more about JLL's culture and the different graduate/ internship opportunities that we have to offer... More Information
aCCept Conference Where: London/UK When: November 22, 2018
ACCEPT is our Diversity and Inclusion conference that aims to provide an opportunity for LGBT students interested in a career in law to hear from senior role models and understand why it's important to bring your full and authentic self to work each day. The day will conclude with an evening panel event with keynote speakers celebrating Trans Awareness month... More Information
Queer Fayre Hoxton Special by Wotever World Where: London/UK When: November 18, 2018
OK - So time have come to do something BIG again! We prepare for Xmas and invite you to have a stall at our Queer Fayre Hoxton Special already 18 November! Plan is to fill 20+ stalls with clever Queer Arts & Crafts, so if you've been a seller before, this will be big! Tho - there is TWO different sets to think about... More Information
Love is Love: An LGBT and Allies Wedding Showcase Where: Milwaukee/United States When: November 4, 2018
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