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← Tolkien's Great War

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Showing Revision 12 created 03/23/2015 by Elliander.

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    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien,
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    was born on the 3rd January, 1892.
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    He and his brother Hilary, experienced
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    a difficult childhood; when Tolkien was
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    just four, they lost their father, Arthur,
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    to rheumatic fever.
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    As a widow with low income, his mother
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    Mabel, home school the brothers and played
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    a vital role in their early education and
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    development.
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    Tolkien was a smart young boy, with a
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    fascination and thirst for languages.
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    Tolkien sat the entrance exam for King
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    Edward's School, Birmingham and passed.
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    From the Autumn of 1900, for a fee of
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    12 pounds a year, Tolkien would be
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    educated in an environment that would help
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    fulfil his academic potential.
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    [John Garth] Going to King Edward's was vitally
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    important to Tolkien; he was an
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    exceptionally talented boy. King Edward's
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    offered him a vast amount of scope and also
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    the company of other boys who were
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    similarly talented.
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    Which was probably quite hard for Tolkien
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    to find.
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    [Simon Stacey] Not only did he play rugby but
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    he was a leading light in the debating society
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    and the literary society; he was the life and
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    soul really and he missed the school a
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    great deal, I think, when he finally had
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    to leave.
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    [VO] At the age of just 11, Tolkien and his
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    brother Hilary, lose their mother, Mabel,
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    to diabetes. Grief stricken, he plunges
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    himself into school life more energetically
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    than before. Academically he excels, but
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    in 1905, meets his intellectual rival,
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    Christopher Wiseman.
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    [John Garth] Tolkien met his greatest friend
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    at King Edward's, Christopher Wiseman on
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    the rugby pitch. A musician, a mathematician;
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    quite different from Tolkien.
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    They developed such a strong bond on the rugby
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    field that they called themselves;
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    "The Great Twin Brethren", which was a phrase
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    from "Lays of Ancient Rome" by Lord
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    Macauley.
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    [Simon Stacey] They also were friendly rivals
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    in the school, both being very academic
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    boys. Wiseman had a formidable intellect
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    and he was interested in a lot of the things
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    that Tolkien was getting interested in;
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    languages, I think he was looking at
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    Egyptian and was looking at hieroglyphics.
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    [John Garth] Tolkien and Wiseman must have
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    helped define each other through their
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    teenage years because they would argue;
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    they would argue strongly about all their
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    beliefs in life.
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    [Simon Stacey] Wiseman was a very talented
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    musician; Tolkien was supposed to be tone
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    deaf but that didn't stop them getting on!
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    [VO] Tolkien also befriends, son of the
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    headmaster, Rob Gilson. Tolkien, Wiseman
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    and Gilson, form a strong bond which will
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    last throughout their school years and beyond.
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    Outside of King Edward's, Tolkien's life is
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    about to change, yet again.
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    [John Garth] Tolkien was living in lodgings
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    with his brother, Hilary, and when he was 16
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    he met fellow lodger, Edith Bratt, who was 19
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    at the time. And she was a beautiful young
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    girl; talented pianist and also an orphan.
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    And the two of them bonded on their shared
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    sadnesses but also on their hopes and dreams.
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    The difficulty for Ronald, as she called him,
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    and Edith, was that he was a Roman Catholic
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    and she was an Anglican.
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    [VO] Tolkien's Guardian, Father Francis Morgan,
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    a Catholic Priest, feels this is major
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    divide; and also believes that Edith will
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    distract Tolkien from his attempts to get
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    into Oxford University.
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    [John Garth] Father Francis Morgan, forbade
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    them from seeing each other, or even from
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    communicating. He was thrown back upon his
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    friendships at King Edward's and it was
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    this final phase of his time here, that he
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    began to flourish and make the place his
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    own; he and his friends ruled the roost.
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    [VO] Making the most of his final year at
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    King Edward's and the friendships he has
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    formed, Tolkien and his peers create an
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    informal society.
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    These young intellectuals gather in the school
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    library and do what they are forbidden to do:
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    brew tea. Outside of school hours, they meet
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    in a cafe at Barrow's Stores in Birmingham
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    and so, self-mockingly, they call themselves
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    the "Tea Club and Barrovean Society"
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    or the TCBS for short.
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    (nostalgic music)
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    [John Garth] The core of the TCBS was probably
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    Tolkien and Wiseman and the others
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    gravitated around them. There was Robert
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    Quilter Gilson, the son of the headmaster
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    here; Rob was a cultured and sociable chap,
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    he was perhaps the social glue of the group;
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    he would welcome anyone and find common
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    cause with them. A gentle artistic fellow
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    who loved to sketch.
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    [Simon Stacey] He was a gifted artist and
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    had ambitions to be an architect.
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    There was a late arrival, Geoffrey Bache Smith,
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    who was fascinated by mythology, Celtic
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    mythology; so this gave him common ground
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    with Tolkien; it was another of Tolkien's
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    passions.
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    [Simon Stacey] Smith was quite an accomplished
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    and advanced poet who recommended contemporary
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    poetry to Tolkien. When he started writing
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    poetry, Tolkien was to a certain extent,
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    inspired by Smith and the wider group.
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    And that was really the beginnings of
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    Tolkien as a writer.
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    [John Garth] From the beginnings which were
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    mostly about fun, later on, during the war years,
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    this developed into a fellowship from which
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    each of them drew tremendous strength and
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    comfort.
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    [VO] Later that year, Tolkien's time at
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    King Edward's comes to an end and he begins
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    his first term at Oxford, having successfully
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    gained entrance.
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    On the eve of his 21st birthday, and his
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    independence from Father Francis Morgan,
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    Tolkien writes to Edith and less than a
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    week later, they are re-united.
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    Edith is engaged to marry another man,
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    but despite almost certain ridicule,
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    she agrees to break the engagement to be
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    with her Ronald.
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    Over the next few months, a growing sense of
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    trouble brews across Europe and on the 28th
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    of June, 1914, everything changes.
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    (gun shot sound)
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    (solemn music)
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    Gavrillo Princip is arrested for the
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    assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
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    A diplomatic crisis ensues and within weeks,
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    Europe's major powers are at war.
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    Germany invades Belgium and Britain declares
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    war on Germany. Parliament issues a call
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    to arms from the British public.
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    [Paul Golightly] There isn't a rush to the
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    colours straight away. It becomes much more
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    obvious that people are willing to join
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    up when atrocity stories start to emerge,
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    then you get a much more concerted rush
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    to join.
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    [John Garth] There was an air of excitement
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    about the war, there was a naive sense that
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    this would allow young men to fulfil their
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    potential in a way that wasn't possible in
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    peace time. There was a tremendous sense
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    of patriotism and a sense of duty towards
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    whatever England, or Britain, stood for.
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    [Paul Golightly] They are attracted to the
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    idea of a settling of accounts with the Germans,
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    or at least some of them will be. On the
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    whole, they thought they were going to give
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    the Germans a bloody nose.
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    [John Garth] "The Germans has been dastardly"
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    and needed to dealt with and shown their place.
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    [Paul Golightly] Men join up out of economic
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    necessity and you'll find that in any war.
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    Life is not very exciting and the romance
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    and colour of joining the army and being
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    part of something very big indeed, I'm sure
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    has some allure.
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    (solemn music) And they see things
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    in rather romantic ways, which of course is
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    doomed to fail; we all know what the First
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    World War turns into. It's not a war of
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    movement, of dash and élan; it's not cavalry
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    charges and distant trumpets; I'm afraid
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    it's the pitter-patter of machine gun fire
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    and the crump of artillery that's going to
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    dominate.
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    So they, I think, have expectations about what
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    the war will be like, and I think their main
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    emotion was, will it be over before I can
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    get to France.
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    [John Garth] Tolkien, who's reading covered
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    ancient heroic literature, that is surprisingly
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    frank about what happens in war, went into
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    the war much more open-eyed. He described
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    himself as a "young man with too much
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    imagination" and so he did not relish battle
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    in any sense.
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    [Paul Golightly] And I think that applies
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    to, not just men like Tolkien who fought in it,
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    but also the politicians and generals who
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    directed it; I think a lot of people
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    understood that this war could be terrible.
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    [Simon Stacey] What you get in the letters
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    between Gilson, Tolkien and Wiseman and
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    then in Smith's poetry, is a serious
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    determination to do their duty and that they
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    should be prepared to give their lives.
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    A realistic appreciation that this is a dark time
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    and that they've got to come through it.
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    [VO] G.B. Smith and Rob Gilson both join
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    the army in 1914, Tolkien's brother, Hilary,
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    signs up as a bugler and Christopher Wiseman
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    joins the navy. Tolkien however, faces a
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    dilemma.
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    [Simon Stacey] Tolkien was in a difficult
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    position when war broke out; he had a year
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    of his degree at Oxford to run and Tolkien
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    needed a degree badly because he wanted to
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    pursue an academic career; he didn't have
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    any money in his family unlike Gilson and
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    therefore, having committed three years to
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    the degree it was very important that he
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    completed it. So he discovered a scheme
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    whereby he could undergo some training
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    in the Officer Training Core whilst
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    completing his degree, which he did triumphantly
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    with a first at Oxford.
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    [VO] He follows good friend, G.B.Smith, into
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    the Lancashire Fusiliers in the hope of being
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    posted to the same battalion.
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    [John Garth] Tolkien was looking for something
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    in the army through which he could use his
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    particular talents, and his particular talents
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    were languages and writing systems; he was
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    fascinated by codes and so forth. So it was
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    only natural that he would train up as a
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    signaller.
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    [Paul Golightly] It would have meant that
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    Tolkien was exposed to the technology
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    available at the time and it must have
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    interested him; so the use of the radio, the
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    use of signals, of semaphore.
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    [Simon Stacey] He learnt morse code,
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    he learnt how to use signalling lamps, field
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    telephones; which of course went on largely
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    to be ineffective or not to work.
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    [John Garth] He became Battalion Signalling
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    Officer for his Battalion. Tolkien had to
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    oversee the communications of a Battalion
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    of between 600 and 1,000 men depending on
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    manpower at the time.
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    [Paul Golightly] His basic job of course
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    was to act as a link between the various
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    layers of command, and that he would be
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    responsible for incoming orders and making sure
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    that the right people got those and of course
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    he'd be responsible for telling command further
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    up the line about the situation on his sector.
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    [John Garth] So he was an absolute lynch pin
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    in a war which depended absolutely on how
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    much information you had about your enemies
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    position.
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    [VO] In March of 1916 as his training nears
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    its completion, both Tolkien and Edith
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    become aware that he will soon be sent to
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    the Front. They marry and just over two
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    months later, Tolkien is shipped off to France.
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    The two of them part, not knowing if they
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    will ever see each other again.
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    (Loud battle sounds, Guns Firing, Shouting)
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    (ominous music)
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    [VO] When Tolkien arrives at the Front, the
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    War has been raging for almost two years.
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    The cost of the War is clear;
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    the countryside is scarred and the casualties
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    high.
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    After a virtual stalemate of trench warfare
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    throughout 1915, and with a new wave of
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    thousands of freshly trained recruits, it is
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    clear the Big Push is imminent.
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    (marching feet)
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    Tolkien's Battalion remains in reserve, but
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    he fears for the lives of his old school
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    friends who are at the Front.
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    Within a month of his arrival in France
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    the Allies launch the Somme Offensive.
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    At 7.30am, on Saturday 1st of July,
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    the troops in the British Frontline,
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    go over the top.
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    (whistle sound echoes)
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    On the first day of the Offensive alone,
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    20,000 men are killed, 35,000 are wounded
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    and over 2,000 are reported missing.
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    [Paul Golightly] The first casualty was
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    the plan. It started to fall apart very
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    rapidly. Tragically for the men caught out
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    in the open, it was a death sentence. 1 in 5
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    men who went into combat on the 1st of July
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    was killed.
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    [John Garth] It was the most disastrous day
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    in the history of the British Army, and
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    a tragedy for the entire country. There were
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    villages that had lost all their young men.
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    [Paul Golightly] It's marked as a loss of
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    innocence, that the 20,000 that were killed
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    represent a turning point in British
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    consciousness and the relationship perhaps
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    between those who make decisions and those
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    who are forced to carry them out.
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    (soft piano music)
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    [VO] Among the many men that are lost on that
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    day, is dear friend and TCBS member,
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    Robert Gilson.
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    [John Garth] He led his Platoon over the top
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    took charge of his Company, but was shot
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    in the middle of No Man's Land.
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    [Paul Golightly] He was in the fourth wave.
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    He saw the first wave go in and fail,
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    the second wave go in and fail,
  324. No està sincronitzat
    the third wave go in and fail.
  325. No està sincronitzat
    And he, as a part of the fourth wave, had
  326. No està sincronitzat
    to go in; and they still went. And that
  327. No està sincronitzat
    I think is the most poignant and probably
  328. No està sincronitzat
    the most tragic thing about the 1st of July
  329. No està sincronitzat
    1916. That this generation, had so much faith
  330. No està sincronitzat
    in their superiors, probably had so much
  331. No està sincronitzat
    commitment to their fellows that they were
  332. No està sincronitzat
    prepared to go, even though it meant certain
  333. No està sincronitzat
    death.
  334. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] Tolkien heard about this
  335. No està sincronitzat
    after his first action on the Somme a couple
  336. No està sincronitzat
    of weeks later; and he was devastated.
  337. No està sincronitzat
    It shook him to the foundations of his
  338. No està sincronitzat
    beliefs. He had, as all of the members of
  339. No està sincronitzat
    the TCBS had, built up their group as a
  340. No està sincronitzat
    fellowship, with ideas and a spirit that had
  341. No està sincronitzat
    something to give to the World. In which
  342. No està sincronitzat
    all four of them were vital parts, and now
  343. No està sincronitzat
    one of them was dead. So what did that mean
  344. No està sincronitzat
    about their overall purpose? And also his
  345. No està sincronitzat
    purpose.
  346. No està sincronitzat
    [Simon Stacey] Geoffrey Smith wrote him a
  347. No està sincronitzat
    letter in which, clearly Smith experiences
  348. No està sincronitzat
    feelings of devastation and a sense that the
  349. No està sincronitzat
    fellowship had been broken. Rob would never
  350. No està sincronitzat
    become an architect, he would never fulfil
  351. No està sincronitzat
    his part in whatever they dreamed of.
  352. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] And I think it took him quite
  353. No està sincronitzat
    some time to recover from that. The other
  354. No està sincronitzat
    two members, Wiseman and Smith, were
  355. No està sincronitzat
    determined to persuade him that, no, the TCBS
  356. No està sincronitzat
    purpose continued and I think eventually
  357. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien took heart from that.
  358. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] Tolkien writes to Rob's father, Headmaster
  359. No està sincronitzat
    at King Edward's school to offer his
  360. No està sincronitzat
    condolences. The TCBS lost a bright young
  361. No està sincronitzat
    man, a talented artist and most painfully
  362. No està sincronitzat
    of all; a dear friend.
  363. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien's war has well and truly started and
  364. No està sincronitzat
    over the coming months he is subject to the
  365. No està sincronitzat
    many hardships of trench warfare.
  366. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] He spent his time in and out
  367. No està sincronitzat
    of the trenches. Battalions would be rotated
  368. No està sincronitzat
    from the Frontline to the reserve trenches
  369. No està sincronitzat
    to rest, as they laughably called it, but
  370. No està sincronitzat
    it wasn't really rest, it was training.
  371. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien talked about the universal weariness
  372. No està sincronitzat
    of all this war. But during this period he
  373. No està sincronitzat
    was involved in three attacks, he was
  374. No està sincronitzat
    very fortunate not to have to go through the
  375. No està sincronitzat
    first day of the Somme; he was a few miles
  376. No està sincronitzat
    back from the Frontline at that time.
  377. No està sincronitzat
    His Battalion moved forward for a second
  378. No està sincronitzat
    wave of attacks, they were launched against a
  379. No està sincronitzat
    village called Ovier; which had been the
  380. No està sincronitzat
    German Frontline. One of the first things that
  381. No està sincronitzat
    he encountered was, complete chaos in the
  382. No està sincronitzat
    battlefield communications system. It was very
  383. No està sincronitzat
    primitive. It was only partly built; damaged
  384. No està sincronitzat
    by the fortunes of battle. He had signallers
  385. No està sincronitzat
    going across No Man's Land carrying flares
  386. No està sincronitzat
    to say, we have arrived. Further flares -
  387. No està sincronitzat
    "we have taken prisoners", they carried
  388. No està sincronitzat
    pigeons; pigeons were about the most reliable
  389. No està sincronitzat
    method of communication. One of Tolkien's
  390. No està sincronitzat
    signallers won a military medal for managing
  391. No està sincronitzat
    to get his pigeons across No Man's Land and
  392. No està sincronitzat
    do the job correctly.
  393. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] The attack is a success and many
  394. No està sincronitzat
    prisoners are captured. Of all the combat
  395. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien encounters, one of the most significant
  396. No està sincronitzat
    battles is also one of his last; an attack
  397. No està sincronitzat
    on Regina Trench.
  398. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] This was in October, by which
  399. No està sincronitzat
    time the battlefield had been reduced to mud.
  400. No està sincronitzat
    The attack had been delayed by heavy rain
  401. No està sincronitzat
    but on October 21st there was a cold snap
  402. No està sincronitzat
    so the ground was frozen hard and the
  403. No està sincronitzat
    attack was able to go ahead.
  404. No està sincronitzat
    (Deep boom. Loud Artillery Fire)
  405. No està sincronitzat
    (Gunfire, bullets zipping by)
  406. No està sincronitzat
    (solemn music)
  407. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] He saw violent death, he also
  408. No està sincronitzat
    saw and felt extreme terror.
  409. No està sincronitzat
    He never, as far as we know, described at
  410. No està sincronitzat
    length what trench warfare was like but he
  411. No està sincronitzat
    summed it up in two words, in one of his
  412. No està sincronitzat
    letters, and this was; "animal horror".
  413. No està sincronitzat
    It would reduce you from humanity and
  414. No està sincronitzat
    turn you into a retched beast desperate only
  415. No està sincronitzat
    to cower and survive. And it's very
  416. No està sincronitzat
    interesting if you look in The Lord of The Rings
  417. No està sincronitzat
    whenever the characters are in situations of
  418. No està sincronitzat
    extreme fear, they're always described as
  419. No està sincronitzat
    stooping and stupefied, un-manned by terror.
  420. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] A lot of British trenches
  421. No està sincronitzat
    were deliberately uncomfortable because
  422. No està sincronitzat
    the Generals wanted the men to believe
  423. No està sincronitzat
    that they were only temporary, that they
  424. No està sincronitzat
    would be advancing beyond this, that this
  425. No està sincronitzat
    wasn't their home.
  426. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] Out on the Western Front, Tolkien feels
  427. No està sincronitzat
    isolated from home and letters to, and from,
  428. No està sincronitzat
    Edith are a lifeline. For reasons of
  429. No està sincronitzat
    strategic importance Tolkien is forbidden
  430. No està sincronitzat
    from sharing his location in his letters, so
  431. No està sincronitzat
    he devises a code of dots to keep Edith
  432. No està sincronitzat
    informed of where he is.
  433. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] He simply found the letters
  434. No està sincronitzat
    of the alphabet within what he wrote to her
  435. No està sincronitzat
    and put a dot above the relevant ones to
  436. No està sincronitzat
    spell out the name of the place where he was
  437. No està sincronitzat
    currently located. And Edith kept a map
  438. No està sincronitzat
    on her wall and pins to show where he was
  439. No està sincronitzat
    at that time.
  440. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] After the successful attack on Regina
  441. No està sincronitzat
    Trench, the Battalion is withdrawn from the
  442. No està sincronitzat
    front and paraded in front of the top brass.
  443. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien however, falls ill.
  444. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] It was trench fever. And this
  445. No està sincronitzat
    was a louse born disease due to the unhygienic
  446. No està sincronitzat
    conditions in the trenches.
  447. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] It spread through contact
  448. No està sincronitzat
    with lice and it symptoms aren't very pleasant
  449. No està sincronitzat
    It gives you a headache, you can have stomach
  450. No està sincronitzat
    cramps, you can have pain in you joints
  451. No està sincronitzat
    and in your bones, you can get lesions on
  452. No està sincronitzat
    your skin; it's not fatal but it can become
  453. No està sincronitzat
    very debilitating. So debilitating you can't
  454. No està sincronitzat
    be an effective soldier. Tolkien got a very
  455. No està sincronitzat
    bad case, so bad that he had to be invalided
  456. No està sincronitzat
    "back to Blighty" as they put it.
  457. No està sincronitzat
    And in fact it was the end of his war.
  458. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] It saved Tolkien's life, it took
  459. No està sincronitzat
    him out of the battlefield and back to Britain.
  460. No està sincronitzat
    He was shipped home to Birmingham, to
  461. No està sincronitzat
    The First Southern General Hospital as it
  462. No està sincronitzat
    was called at the time, which was actually set
  463. No està sincronitzat
    up in the grounds of Birmingham University.
  464. No està sincronitzat
    And it was there that Tolkien was re-united
  465. No està sincronitzat
    with his wife, Edith and where he began
  466. No està sincronitzat
    writing the first stories of Middle-Earth.
  467. No està sincronitzat
    His re-union with Edith was deeply emotional
  468. No està sincronitzat
    and was an inspiration for various pieces of
  469. No està sincronitzat
    writing in his mythology, notably the
  470. No està sincronitzat
    story of Luthien and Beren; which features
  471. No està sincronitzat
    in the Silmarillion and is mentioned in
  472. No està sincronitzat
    The Lord of The Rings. A love story between
  473. No està sincronitzat
    a mortal man and an immortal elf.
  474. No està sincronitzat
    (Gentle Piano Music)
  475. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] However, Tolkien's respite is short lived.
  476. No està sincronitzat
    Shortly after returning to Birmingham, Tolkien
  477. No està sincronitzat
    learns from Christopher Wiseman, that
  478. No està sincronitzat
    good friend G.B.Smith has been killed.
  479. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] The Battle of the Somme was
  480. No està sincronitzat
    over, and Smith had been organising a
  481. No està sincronitzat
    football match for his men about four miles
  482. No està sincronitzat
    behind the Frontline, when a stray shell
  483. No està sincronitzat
    exploded near him.
  484. No està sincronitzat
    He was hit by shrapnel and developed what
  485. No està sincronitzat
    they called Gas Gangrene, which killed
  486. No està sincronitzat
    him within a few days. Early in 1916, while
  487. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien was still in training, he had a letter
  488. No està sincronitzat
    G.B.Smith, who by that time was in the trenches
  489. No està sincronitzat
    in France.
  490. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] Smith was about to go out on Night Patrol.
  491. No està sincronitzat
    The officer who had led the patrol the night before
  492. No està sincronitzat
    had been captured and most likely killed.
  493. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] It was about the most dangerous
  494. No està sincronitzat
    activity that you could do on the Western Front
  495. No està sincronitzat
    and Smith was about to go into it and he took
  496. No està sincronitzat
    the opportunity to write to Tolkien, and
  497. No està sincronitzat
    tell him; "I'm about to go out on Night Patrol,
  498. No està sincronitzat
    I am a wild and wholehearted admirer of
  499. No està sincronitzat
    what you've written and what you will write"
  500. No està sincronitzat
    He told Tolkien, "you I'm sure are chosen,
  501. No està sincronitzat
    and you must publish."
  502. No està sincronitzat
    Smith was essentially the first Middle-Earth
  503. No està sincronitzat
    fan.
  504. No està sincronitzat
    [Simon Stacey] Smith says in the letter that
  505. No està sincronitzat
    death couldn't put an end to the TCBS, to
  506. No està sincronitzat
    the "immortal four" as he put it, that Tolkien
  507. No està sincronitzat
    may say the things that he had wanted to
  508. No està sincronitzat
    say, long after he is there to say them.
  509. No està sincronitzat
    That's very moving because Tolkien, although
  510. No està sincronitzat
    very much his own individual artistic self,
  511. No està sincronitzat
    I think did see his later career as an
  512. No està sincronitzat
    attempt to fulfil the artistic dreams that
  513. No està sincronitzat
    they'd shared.
  514. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] He was able to gather his strength
  515. No està sincronitzat
    and perhaps see Smith as an ideal to be lived up to.
  516. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] In the summer of 1918, Tolkien and
  517. No està sincronitzat
    Wiseman gather some of Smith's poems and
  518. No està sincronitzat
    have them published in a small volume,
  519. No està sincronitzat
    entitled; "A Spring Harvest".
  520. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien's war is over, but the impact of his
  521. No està sincronitzat
    experiences will stay with him forever, and
  522. No està sincronitzat
    will even feature in his future writings.
  523. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] The whole experience of the War
  524. No està sincronitzat
    had an ongoing affect on much of Tolkien's
  525. No està sincronitzat
    mythology. As soon as Tolkien returned from
  526. No està sincronitzat
    the Somme he started writing a story called,
  527. No està sincronitzat
    "The Fall of Gondolin" which was the first
  528. No està sincronitzat
    element of his mythology that dealt with battle.
  529. No està sincronitzat
    And the fascinating thing about it is that the
  530. No està sincronitzat
    attacking forces use things that are termed
  531. No està sincronitzat
    by Tolkien, "dragons" or "beasts" or "monsters"
  532. No està sincronitzat
    but they're described as metallic and rolling
  533. No està sincronitzat
    and they spout fire and some of them have
  534. No està sincronitzat
    troops inside them, and it's pretty clear that
  535. No està sincronitzat
    this is a kind of mythologising of the Tank.
  536. No està sincronitzat
    Which was Britains secret weapon, which
  537. No està sincronitzat
    had just been launched on the Somme while
  538. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien was there.
  539. No està sincronitzat
    The Lord of The Rings focusses on a fellowship,
  540. No està sincronitzat
    they're separated on different battlefronts,
  541. No està sincronitzat
    much like the TCBS were.
  542. No està sincronitzat
    [Simon Stacey] It's almost unimaginable that,
  543. No està sincronitzat
    in writing of the breaking of the fellowship,
  544. No està sincronitzat
    in The Lord of The Rings, that Tolkien wouldn't
  545. No està sincronitzat
    have been influenced by his own loss during
  546. No està sincronitzat
    the First World War and the breaking of the
  547. No està sincronitzat
    TCBS fellowship.
  548. No està sincronitzat
    There is a late letter in which he mentions
  549. No està sincronitzat
    that the dead marshes, through which Frodo,
  550. No està sincronitzat
    Sam and Gollum travel, owe something to
  551. No està sincronitzat
    northern France, in the area of the Somme
  552. No està sincronitzat
    where he fought.
  553. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] Frodo and Sam are very much
  554. No està sincronitzat
    the equivalent of an officer and his batman; his
  555. No està sincronitzat
    servant. And Tolkien actually said that, "my
  556. No està sincronitzat
    Sam Gamgee is inspired by the Privates and
  557. No està sincronitzat
    Batmen I knew in the First World War".
  558. No està sincronitzat
    Frodo represents really, the feelings of a young
  559. No està sincronitzat
    man like Tolkien himself, thrown into a war
  560. No està sincronitzat
    unwillingly and having to shoulder a terrible
  561. No està sincronitzat
    burden; a burden of duty. You can see that
  562. No està sincronitzat
    Frodo develops symptoms of what we would now
  563. No està sincronitzat
    call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or
  564. No està sincronitzat
    War Trauma, or what they called then,
  565. No està sincronitzat
    Shell Shock. He becomes withdrawn from
  566. No està sincronitzat
    the World, increasingly enclosed within himself
  567. No està sincronitzat
    he says he can't remember what grass was like,
  568. No està sincronitzat
    what sunlight was like.
  569. No està sincronitzat
    When the war is over in The Lord of The Rings,
  570. No està sincronitzat
    Frodo does not strut his stuff as a hero,
  571. No està sincronitzat
    he is visibly traumatised by the whole
  572. No està sincronitzat
    experience. This was very true of many of the
  573. No està sincronitzat
    soldiers who returned from the Western
  574. No està sincronitzat
    Front, unable to talk about the experiences
  575. No està sincronitzat
    that had affected them so deeply.
  576. No està sincronitzat
    (retrospective piano music)
  577. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] The generation that fights
  578. No està sincronitzat
    the First World War, should be called courageous.
  579. No està sincronitzat
    [Simon Stacey] The sacrifice of that generation
  580. No està sincronitzat
    was extraordinary.
  581. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] It was a tragic loss not only for
  582. No està sincronitzat
    families, for friends, but for civilisation as
  583. No està sincronitzat
    a whole. It shook long-held beliefs and
  584. No està sincronitzat
    assumptions in order and glory.
  585. No està sincronitzat
    [Simon Stacey] It is the first thorough
  586. No està sincronitzat
    going war of the machines. So many
  587. No està sincronitzat
    thousands and ultimately millions of men
  588. No està sincronitzat
    could be wiped out, could be destroyed without
  589. No està sincronitzat
    necessarily facing their individual enemy.
  590. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] These men don't have
  591. No està sincronitzat
    the privilege of dying one at a time, they die
  592. No està sincronitzat
    on mass; and it's those numbers that I think
  593. No està sincronitzat
    traumatise us so much. That's why we have
  594. No està sincronitzat
    the memorials at Thiepval and Menin Gate;
  595. No està sincronitzat
    where it's just one long list of names.
  596. No està sincronitzat
    These bodies have simply disappeared, and
  597. No està sincronitzat
    they're all separate lives but they've all
  598. No està sincronitzat
    vanished at once.
  599. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] When you read the King Edward's
  600. No està sincronitzat
    School Chronicle, as I have to research
  601. No està sincronitzat
    Tolkien's life here, you get to know the boys
  602. No està sincronitzat
    with whom he grew up and you see their
  603. No està sincronitzat
    achievements, you see what they were learning,
  604. No està sincronitzat
    you see how wonderfully intelligent, potentially
  605. No està sincronitzat
    creative and brilliant they were. And then
  606. No està sincronitzat
    the First World War; and you see that they're
  607. No està sincronitzat
    heading for this.
  608. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] These young men, with their
  609. No està sincronitzat
    whole lives in front of them, have, yes it's
  610. No està sincronitzat
    a phrase that we all know, have been cut off
  611. No està sincronitzat
    in their prime. They were full of potential,
  612. No està sincronitzat
    full of life, full of vigour, full of plans,
  613. No està sincronitzat
    full of ambition; wanting to do all kinds of
  614. No està sincronitzat
    things with their professional lives and
  615. No està sincronitzat
    their personal lives, and denied that opportunity.
  616. No està sincronitzat
    [John Garth] When you look at the fortunes
  617. No està sincronitzat
    of war, it's quite astonishing that Tolkien
  618. No està sincronitzat
    survived and went on to produce the great
  619. No està sincronitzat
    works of literature that he did; works that
  620. No està sincronitzat
    have shaped our culture. And one does
  621. No està sincronitzat
    wonder how many others didn't survive,
  622. No està sincronitzat
    what potential was locked inside them that
  623. No està sincronitzat
    they never had time to bring out of themselves.
  624. No està sincronitzat
    So there is an uncountable loss there.
  625. No està sincronitzat
    [Simon Stacey] G.B.Smith gives a brief glimpse
  626. No està sincronitzat
    of a young life snuffed out and only very
  627. No està sincronitzat
    incompletely communicating its dreams.
  628. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] This is a generation that did
  629. No està sincronitzat
    not talk about the way it felt. So in that
  630. No està sincronitzat
    sense I think the psychological affect was
  631. No està sincronitzat
    long lasting. A number of veterans surived
  632. No està sincronitzat
    the war only to find that they couldn't survive
  633. No està sincronitzat
    the peace.
  634. No està sincronitzat
    [VO] In the chapel at King Edward's School,
  635. No està sincronitzat
    eight brass plaques hold the names of
  636. No està sincronitzat
    245 Old Edwardians who lost their lives during
  637. No està sincronitzat
    the First World War. Tolkien and his TCBS
  638. No està sincronitzat
    friends, are just four of almost
  639. No està sincronitzat
    fifteen hundred Old Edwardians who answered
  640. No està sincronitzat
    their country's call and fought in The Great War,
  641. No està sincronitzat
    and each of their stories is worth telling.
  642. No està sincronitzat
    [Paul Golightly] The graveyards that you can
  643. No està sincronitzat
    walk around in northern France now have become
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    almost 21st century cathedrals; where some
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    really important questions need to be ask about
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    the nature of war and the nature of
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    sacrifice, and in the First World War's case,
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    the scale of that sacrifice. Whether any war
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    could be worth that.