War Poetry and The Stamford Poets

Stamford Poets research undertaken by Nicholas McCarthy

Two war poets from Stamford were uncovered as part of the centenary research:

Stamford War Poets

William Pike Osborne

William Pike osborne

Osborne was bom in Longford Rectory Preston, Lancashire on August 29th 1880. He was the eldest son of Rev. James Osborne and Marion Pike. Educated at Stamford Grammar School, joining on 19th September 1895 and leaving in July 1899. Whilst at Stamford, William was a successful pupil winning numerous prizes. He went on to Cambridge University for a term before leaving for Canada where he later became Editor of the Quebec Chronicle in January, 1909. He was married to Ada Mary, daughter of William Willerton, who with two daughters survive him. Osborne served in the South African War, in the Wiltshire Yeomanry. Not a war poet in the strictest sense, (he did not see service during the First World War) nevertheless Osborne’s work manages to capture the haunting and brutal nature of war. He wrote a number of war poems, two of which, Valcartier and Langemarck were published in ‘Canadian Poems of the Great War’ (1918). Osborne accidentally drowned on October 13th, 1917.

Ward Holmes

Ward holmes

Ward Holmes was born on the 5th September 1895. The son of John Thomas Holmes and his wife Jane, he lived at 3 Primrose Villas, Wothorpe Road, Stamford as a child. He attended Stamford School from September 1908 to July 1913. Upon leaving school he went on work for the Customs and Excise Board and following the outbreak of the War, Ward was accepted as a cadet by the Inns of Court OTC.
He subsequently served as a Lieutenant with Bedfordshire Regiment. In 1918, he had published a collection of 20 war poems and a further 11 other works, entitled ‘War Verse and More Verse’ with local publishers Dolby Bros. of High Street Stamford (copies currently held by the British Library and Stamford School). In 1922, Ward married a Miss Freda Thurman, in Suffolk. By the 1960s he was living at 65, The Chase, Bromley Kent. Ward died in 1980 in the Maidstone district of Kent. Duration, RP and The Lark.

Other War Poems

LCC Heritage Service also included a selection of war poetry from the collections in their commemorative display. The poems include the famous The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke and a tribute by Edmond Brittain MC (brother of Vera Brittain) to his fallen brother, and give an insight of what awaited new recruits as they arrived at the Front – and afterwards.