Edmund Blunden is one of the less well-known of the great war poets. He was born at Yalding in Kent in 1896 and educated at Christ’s Hospital School and Queen’s College, Oxford. He was among the longest-serving of the war poets, being almost continually at the front from 1916 and 1918 with the Royal Sussex Regiment, and was awarded the MC. He was also one of the longest-lived, surviving the war and dying only in 1974 after a distinguished academic and literary career.
His poetry is less well known than it should be. He can be casually labelled ‘Georgian’ and though much of his verse is pastoral and traditional, his range – not least in his war poems – is much broader than other so-called Georgians. He is perhaps best-known today for his prose memoir ‘Undertones of War’ but his poetry is worthy of further study.
Here is his ‘Christmas in Sight of Ypres’ written in 1917 in his army notebook: