A remarkable number of well known authors were ambulance drivers during World War I. Among them were Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, and W. Somerset Maugham.
In 1944 British author and playwright W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge was published. The story takes place just following World War I and follows a young American Maugham calls Larry Darrell as he searches for spiritual awakening. High in the mountains of India he experiences Enlightenment. However, what drove him on his quest initially was seeing his best friend die in front of his eyes following a dogfight with the Germans. Darrell had gone to Canada, enlisted in the Canadian military at age sixteen and was flying through them for the British in France by 1917. His best friend was an Irishman called Patsy. Patsy taught him everything he needed to know and how to survive. In turn, in the end, it was Patsy that Larry saw die...after saving his life. Although the type plane both Larry and Patsy flew is never mentioned in the novel, it is known they were Sopwith Camels. Maugham had seen the war and the war's carnage at field level because, like Ernest Hemingway and other writers and authors of the time, he was a former volunteer ambulance driver, one of the so-called Literary Ambulance Drives.
Writers Who Were Ambulance Drivers in WWI
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE