EDWARD THOMAS (1878 – 1917) was born in London of Welsh descent. He was educated at Battersea Grammar School, St Paul’s School and Lincoln College, Oxford. From 1906 he lived with his wife Helen and their children in Hampshire, where he earned a precarious living writing book reviews, biographies and volumes of essays, particularly about natural history and rural life in southern England. In 1915 he voluntarily enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1916. He was killed in 1917 at the Battle of Arras, where he is buried. Encouraged to write poetry by the American poet Robert Frost, his reputation as a poet has grown steadily since the posthumous publication of his poetry in 1920. He is commemorated at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, in the lancet windows of two parish churches engraved by Laurence Whistler, and by a sarsen stone in the hills of Hampshire.
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