Poet and writer Siegfried Loraine Sassoon was born on 8 September 1886 at Weirleigh, near Matfield in Kent. Educated at Marlborough College (1902-4) and Clare College, Cambridge (1905-6), Sassoon enlisted as a trooper in the Sussex Yeomanry in 1914. In 1915 he was commissioned in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and sent to France, where his bravery in action earned him the Military Cross in June 1916. Increasingly disillusioned with the politics of the War and with the needless suffering of his men, in June 1917 while recuperating from a shoulder wound Sassoon wrote his 'Soldier's Declaration' in protest against the continuation of the War, calling for a negotiated peace. His statement was read out in the House of Commons and printed in 'The Times' in July 1917. Instead of being court-martialled Sassoon was declared to be suffering from shellshock and sent to Craiglockhart Military Hospital in Edinburgh. He was eventually persuaded to return to action, and was posted first to Palestine in February 1918 and then to France, where he received a head wound which ended his direct involvement in the War. During his time at the front, Sassoon wrote many of the war poems which were to establish his reputation as a poet. His poems reflected the savage reality of war and were published in a series of volumes entitled 'The Old Huntsman and Other Poems' (1917), 'Counter-Attack and Other Poems' (1918), 'Picture Show' (1919), and 'War Poems' (1919). Sassoon kept copious diaries, many of which later formed the basis of his prose work, including his George Sherston trilogy and his autobiographical works. His book 'Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man' (1928) earned him both the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Prize for fiction. In 1948, he also published 'Meredith', his biography of the novelist and poet George Meredith. While Sassoon continued to write poetry throughout his life, he remains best known as a war poet. Sassoon married Hester Gatty in 1933 and his son George was born in 1936. He died in 1967 at Heytesbury House in Wiltshire at the age of eighty.
Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:
Caricatures, letters and photographs by or relating to Siegfried Sassoon and his family
Egremont Sassoon papers
- Caricatures 1
- Cartoons 1
- Poetry 1
- Satire 1