Partner Gabriel Atkin, Stephen Tennant
Weirleigh, B2160, Tonbridge TN12, UK
Marlborough College, Bath Rd, Marlborough SN8 1PA, UK
University Of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2, UK
New Beacon School, Brittains Ln, Sevenoaks TN13 2PB, UK
1 Raymond Buildings, Londra WC1R 5NR, UK
54 Tufton St, Westminster, London SW1P 3RA, UK
23 Campden Hill Square, Kensington, London W8 7JY, UK
Fitz House, Teffont Magna, Salisbury SP3 5QS, UK
Heytesbury House, Heytesbury, Warminster BA12, UK
St Andrew, Mells, Frome BA11, UK
Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK
Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE, MC (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English poet, writer, and soldier. He appears as George Sherston in several of his own books; as Siegfried Victor in The Apes of God (1930) by Wyndham Lewis; as David Casselis in But It Still Goes On (1930) by Robert Graves; and as Patient B in Conflict and Dream (1923) by William Halse Rivers. Rivers was the army doctor who treated Sassoon for shell-shock.
Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, Sassoon became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war. Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his "Soldier's Declaration" of 1917, culminating in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital; this resulted in his forming a friendship with Wilfred Owen, who was greatly influenced by him. Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the "Sherston trilogy".
Sassoon had a fine war record of great bravery and was awarded the Military Cross, but in 1916, partly because of the devastating death of his friend David Thomas, his stance changed and he began to oppose the war. Sassoon was one diarist who made reference to the sexual activity of other men on the front line, and expressed his attraction to soldiers he came across by chance - he was particularly taken with David Thomas and a teenage lad named Gibson, both of whom died in action. David Thomas is commemorated in various of Sassoon's poems such as A Letter Home: I've seen Soldier David dressed in green, Standing in a wood that swings To the madrigal he sings. He's come back, all mirth and glory, Like the prince in fairy story.
by Glyn Philpot
Gray's Inn, London
54 Tufton St, Westminster
Westminster Abbey, London
Sassoon, having matured greatly as a result of his military service, continued to seek emotional fulfilment, initially in a succession of love affairs with men, including:
Only the last of these made a permanent impression, though Shaw remained Sassoon's close friend throughout his life.
In September 1931, Sassoon rented Fitz House, Teffont Magna, Wiltshire and began to live there. In December 1933, he married Hester Gatty, who was many years his junior. The marriage led to the birth of a child, something which he had purportedly craved for a long time:
George became a scientist, linguist, and author, and was adored by Siegfried, who wrote several poems addressed to him. However, the marriage broke down after the Second World War, Sassoon apparently unable to find a compromise between the solitude he enjoyed and the companionship he craved.
Separated from his wife in 1945, Sassoon lived in seclusion at Heytesbury in Wiltshire, although he maintained contact with a circle which included E M Forster and J R Ackerley. One of his closest friends was the cricketer, Dennis Silk who later became Warden (headmaster) of Radley College. He also formed a close friendship with Vivien Hancock, then headmistress of Greenways School at Ashton Gifford, where his son George was a pupil. The relationship provoked Hester to make strong accusations against Hancock, who responded with the threat of legal action.
Sassoon was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1951 New Year Honours. He died from stomach cancer on 1 September 1967, one week before his 81st birthday. He is buried at St Andrew's Church, Mells, Somerset, not far from the grave of Father Ronald Knox whom he so admired.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE