- J.R.R. Tolkien
- Colorized vintage photograph
- Year: 1916
- Artist: Unknown (Colorized by Julius Jääskeläinen.
The story of this poster
Colorized vintage photograph of J. R. R. Tolkien during his service as a Second Lieutenant with the Lancashire Fusiliers during World war 1.
In August 1914, Britain entered the First World War. Tolkien's relatives were shocked when he elected not to volunteer immediately for the British Army. In a 1941 letter to his son Michael, Tolkien recalled: "In those days chaps joined up, or were scorned publicly. It was a nasty cleft to be in for a young man with too much imagination and little physical courage."
On 27 October 1916, as his battalion attacked Regina Trench, Tolkien contracted trench fever, a disease carried by the lice. He was invalided to England on 8 November 1916. Many of his dearest school friends were killed in the war. Among their number were Rob Gilson of the Tea Club and Barrovian Society, who was killed on the first day of the Somme while leading his men in the assault on Beaumont Hamel. Fellow T.C.B.S. member Geoffrey Smith was killed during the same battle when a German artillery shell landed on a first-aid post. Tolkien's battalion was almost completely wiped out following his return to England.
A weak and emaciated Tolkien spent the remainder of the war alternating between hospitals and garrison duties, being deemed medically unfit for general service.
After the war Tolkien would go on to author very beloved books as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Colorized by Julius Jääskeläinen.
Always at World War Era
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