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Battle of the Somme

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The '''Battle of the Somme''' was a battle in which [[J.R.R. Tolkien]] fought in shortly after receiving his first class degree in literature at [[Oxford]]. From July to October of 1916 Tolkien was on active duty until he acquired trench fever and was let go. Many of Tolkien's dearest friends perished during this time and it became a major event in Tolkien's life which reflects in his writings.
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[[Image:J.R.R. Tolkien's Army Revolver.jpg|thumb|right|Tolkien's army revolver on display at the [http://www.iwm.org.uk/ Imperial War Museum].]]
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{{quote|They lie in all the pools, pale faces, deep deep under the dark water. I saw them: grim faces and evil, and noble faces and sad. Many faces proud and fair, and weeds in their silver hair. But all foul, all rotting, all dead.|[[Frodo Baggins]]<ref>{{TT|IV2}}</ref>}}
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The '''Battle of the Somme''' was one of the bloodiest battles of [[World War I]], and indeed human history.<ref name="Brewer">Paul Brewer (2007). ''The Chronicle of War: A Year-by-Year Account of Conflict from 1854 to the Present Day''. London: Carlton Books.</ref> [[J.R.R. Tolkien]] fought there from [[July]] to [[October]] [[1916]], as Battalion Signalling Officer to the 11th Batallion of The Lancashire Fusiliers. His unit was stationed in the northern sector of the Somme and participated in the [[wikipedia:Battle of Thiepval Ridge|Battle of Thiepval Ridge]] and [[wikipedia:Regina Trench|capture of Regina Trench]].<ref name="WarMuseum">Imperial War Museum. [http://www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.2211 Personal Stories - JRR Tolkien]. Retrieved 2010-08-22.</ref> In October Tolkien contracted [[wikipedia:Trench fever|trench fever]] and was evacuated to England to convalesce; he did not return to the front lines.
  
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Among the hundreds of thousands of young men killed at the Somme were two of Tolkien's close school friends: [[Robert Gilson]] and [[Geoffrey Bache Smith]]. Tolkien discussed the death of Gilson in a [[Letter 6|letter]] written in the trenches to Smith shortly before he too was killed by shrapnel. The "hideous" experience of the Battle, as Tolkien described it, is often seen to be reflected in his written work.<ref name="BBC">Lisa Jardine. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5133000.stm 'The Somme and Tolkien']. ''BBC News | Magazine''. Updated 2006-07-03. Retrieved 2010-08-22.</ref>
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The [[Dead Marshes]] were inspired by the landscape of northern France in the aftermath of the battle.<ref>{{L|226}}</ref>
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==See also==
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* ''[[A Spring Harvest]]''
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* ''[[Tolkien and the Great War]]''
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{{references}}
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5133000.stm The Somme and Tolkien]
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* {{WP|{{PAGENAME}}}}
* [http://www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.2211 Imperial War Museum]
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[[Category:Real-world]]
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[[Category:World War I]]
 
[[de:J.R.R. Tolkien#Krieg]]
 
[[de:J.R.R. Tolkien#Krieg]]

Revision as of 07:43, 27 June 2012

Tolkien's army revolver on display at the Imperial War Museum.
"They lie in all the pools, pale faces, deep deep under the dark water. I saw them: grim faces and evil, and noble faces and sad. Many faces proud and fair, and weeds in their silver hair. But all foul, all rotting, all dead."
Frodo Baggins[1]

The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of World War I, and indeed human history.[2] J.R.R. Tolkien fought there from July to October 1916, as Battalion Signalling Officer to the 11th Batallion of The Lancashire Fusiliers. His unit was stationed in the northern sector of the Somme and participated in the Battle of Thiepval Ridge and capture of Regina Trench.[3] In October Tolkien contracted trench fever and was evacuated to England to convalesce; he did not return to the front lines.

Among the hundreds of thousands of young men killed at the Somme were two of Tolkien's close school friends: Robert Gilson and Geoffrey Bache Smith. Tolkien discussed the death of Gilson in a letter written in the trenches to Smith shortly before he too was killed by shrapnel. The "hideous" experience of the Battle, as Tolkien described it, is often seen to be reflected in his written work.[4]

The Dead Marshes were inspired by the landscape of northern France in the aftermath of the battle.[5]

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Passage of the Marshes"
  2. Paul Brewer (2007). The Chronicle of War: A Year-by-Year Account of Conflict from 1854 to the Present Day. London: Carlton Books.
  3. Imperial War Museum. Personal Stories - JRR Tolkien. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  4. Lisa Jardine. 'The Somme and Tolkien'. BBC News | Magazine. Updated 2006-07-03. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 226, (dated 31 December 1960)

External links