Special literary event in Beaconsfield marks Great War centenary

(From left) Kari Dorme, Gabriel Woolf and Linda Hart

(From left) Kari Dorme, Gabriel Woolf and Linda Hart

First published in News

THE HEROISM, horror, suffering and sacrifice of conflict were brought to life at a special literary event in Beaconsfield to mark the Great War centenary.

The event, entitled Behind the Lines, took place on Saturday April 12 at the Fitzwilliams Centre in Windsor End, Beaconsfield.

Linda Hart and Gabriel Woolf were said to have presented a sensitive and thought-provoking production, incorporating diary records and newspaper snippets, along with well chosen poems and occasional songs.

British soldier Julian Grenfell, who had family connections with the Grenfells of Wilton Park, Beaconsfield, was one of the poets featured.

An insert to the printed programme gave information about Beaconsfield’s VC hero Capt. Francis Grenfell and his twin brother Riversdale, both of whom were killed in the war.

The Rector of St. Mary’s, Rev Dr. Jeremy Brooks, who was in the audience, kept the church open into the evening so that anyone who was interested could look at the Grenfell, and all the other war memorials in the church.

Kari Dorme, committee member and organiser, commented: "We had great audiences for both performances who enjoyed and experienced all the contrasts and mixtures of emotions of the poetry, letters and songs. There was enthusiasm for war, there was bitterness and horror expressed, there was humour and some laughter too."

After the performance, a member of the audience said: "We have really experienced the horrors and hopes as well as the futility and the comradeship from the heartfelt words of the time.

"The compilation, carefully put together by Linda Hart and Gabriel Woolf, interwove the views of participants, families, reporters, writers and even humourists, all presented and delivered with their enthralling professionalism.

"We found that the words from back home were just as moving as those from the front. We all know of the Great War but we cannot know it; tonight, though, we really felt it.”

The event was a fitting tribute to Beaconsfield’s World War I commemorations and proceeds the important events later in the year, namely the special commemoration service at St. Mary’s church on August 3rd and the laying of the government’s VC paving stone in time for Remembrance Sunday 2014.

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