From Mametz Wood to The General

Lecture on Siegfried Sassoon given at the Imperial War Museum, London, 12th November 2011.

How did Siegfried Sassoon, whose first patriotic outpourings are almost more Brooke-like than those of Rupert Brooke himself, come to write the bitter war-satires for which he has become famous? Many factors went into the making of 'Mad Jack' - the death of his younger brother at Gallipoli in November 1915, the loss of his great love, David Thomas, and his 'dear' bombing sergeant, Mick O'Brian, in early 1916, and the first day of the Somme, which he witnessed on 1 July that same year. But it was the gruesome aftermath of the battle of Mametz Wood which finally brought home to him the grim realities of war. Presented by the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship with support from The Wilfred Owen Association.