Sunday, 9 March 2014

Philip H.G. Gosse (1879 - 1959) - British - Fascinating Facts of the Great War


Philip was born Philip Henry G. Gosse in Kensington in 1879.  His grandfather was the naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, FRS

He was educated Haileybury then sent to farming school.  He went on the FitzGerald Expedition to the Andes to collect animals.

Philip studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London then became a GP in Beaulieu in the New Forest.   He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914 and served in WW1. He was the British Army’s Official Rat Catcher Officer. 

After the War, Philip married Irene Marden in 1930 and moved to Sussex, where he wrote books and dug ponds.

In 1941, he matriculated from Cambridge University and went on to work as a research student at Trinity College.   He died in 1959.

As part of my research into Fascinating Facts of the Great War for my commemorative exhibitions in memory of my Old Contemptible Grandfather, I have been reading Philip Gosse’s book “A Naturalist goes to War”. 

I found this extract from Philip’s book particularly fascinating and decided to share it with you, under the heading “Fascinating Facts of the Great War”.

On pages 63 and 64, Gosse describes the amazing work of the Postal Section of the Royal Engineers, which dealt with all the post of the various British Expeditionary Forces in the theatres of WW1.

He finishes by printing a letter sent to his mother by Siegfried Sassoon from whom he obtained permission to reproduce the letter.   In the letter, written by Sassoon on 6th January 1916 from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers on the Somme near Airaines, among other things mention is made of

“.. a young poet in this Battn., 19 years old and a temporary Captain – Robert Graves, son of Alfred Perceval. … R.G. writes moderately well and is a great admirer of Samuel Butler…”

From “A Naturalist goes to War” by Philip Gosse, first published by Penguin
Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex in 1934;  my copy published in 1944.

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