Saturday, 9 May 2015

Death in the Dardanelles

Programme from Kenneth Longuet-Higgins' last school sports, 1913 [HG12/11/113]

Sunday 9th May 1915: The Longuet-Higgins family of Turvey have received the sad news of the death of their youngest son Kenneth, the Lieutenant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry we last heard of travelling out to the Dardanelles in March. Kenneth Aislabie Longuet-Higgins was killed on 2nd May 1915, aged just nineteen, and was buried at sea off Rhodes on 3rd May. One of his former school friends at St. Paul’s, London, has written the following poem in his memory:
Died of Wounds Received at the DardanellesWhere stern grey busts of gods and heroes oldFrown down upon the corridors’ chill stone,
On which the sunbeam’s amber pale is thrown
From leaf-fringed windows, one of quiet mouldGazed long at those white chronicles which toldOf honours that the stately School had known.
He read the names: and wondered if his own
Would ever grace the walls in letters bold.
He knew not that he for the School would gainA greater honour with a greater price –
That, no long years of work, but bitter painAnd his rich life, he was to sacrifice –
Not in a University’s grey peace,
But on the hilly sun-baked Chersonese.
Source: Higgins Archive [HG1/130, anonymous poem signed only O.P. (Old Pauline) reprinted from ‘The Pauline’, December 1915]

1 comment:

  1. The poet was Paul Bewsher, who wrote it on HMS Manica in 1915. PB returned to UK on Manica Sep/Oct 1915. The Gallipoli Association have been trying to establish who "KLH" was. My grandfather Lt JE Loveluck was the first Officer of Manica. I can't see how PB could have known his school chum was killed. Perhaps he had a letter from home.