David Childs

On 5th April the German withdrawal to the more easterly but more secure Hindenburg Line was completed. A day later the United States declared war on Germany and, as if they been waiting for this act, a few days later the allies launched a major Spring offensive on the Western Front. In support of the ill-conceived, and tragic Nivelle offensive in Champagne, Britain and the Commonwealth attacked at Arras and Vimy Ridge. There were no notable gains with the French receiving 187,000 casualties, a grim prelude to a mutiny which was dealt with harshly with little understanding of the strain that the worthless daily toll of lives was taking.


Private Charles Churchill, 94th Training Reserve Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was only eighteen when he died on 2nd April 1917. He was the son of Charles and Evelyn Churchill of The Lodge, Fonthill Bishop and it is in that village church that he was buried. It can be assumed, therefore, that he died before being shipped abroad.On 28 April, twenty-seven year old, Private Howard Hoddinott, serving with the Royal Berkshires, was killed during the battles around Arras on which memorial his name is commemorated. He was the son of Mr T S and Mrs S E Hoddinott of Ashley Wood, Tisbury.


Eleanor Farjeon Eleanor Farjeon (13 February 1881 - 5 June 1965) was an English author of children's stories and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire. Many of her works had charming illustrations by Edward Ardizzone. Some of her correspondence has also been published. She won many literary awards and the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature is presented annually in her memory by the Children's Book Circle, a society of publishers. She was the sister of the thriller writer Joseph Jefferson Farjeon. Perhaps her friend, referred to just as E.T., or Howard Hoddinott, was one of those whom Sassoon mourned in his sardonic poem written that same April of 1917.

Easter Monday
In the last letter that I had from France
You thanked me for the silver Easter egg
Which I had hidden in the box of apples
You like to munch beyond all other fruit.
You found the egg the Monday before Easter,
And said. 'I will praise Easter Monday now -
It was such a lovely morning'. Then you spoke
Of the coming battle and said, 'This is the eve.
'Good-bye. And may I have a letter soon'.

That Easter Monday was a day for praise,
It was such a lovely morning. In our garden
We sowed our earliest seeds, and in the orchard
The apple-bud was ripe. It was the eve,
There are three letters that you will not get.

The General

" Good-morning, good-morning!" the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
" He's a cheery old card," grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

Siegfried Sassoon

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