Special project starting Tolkien in the Great War

This year sees the centenary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s service in the Great War. On this occasion, we will start a special project on 2nd June 2016, which follows Tolkien through his time in the war. Via our social media accounts, we will upload pictures and texts on certain dates, showing what has taken place on that exact day in Tolkien’s life 100 years ago.

During the Great War, Tolkien was postet in Northern France as signalling officer on the British side. As a soldier of the 11th batallion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, he fought in the Battle of the Somme and experienced the horror of trench warfare. The project starts on 2nd June, as on this day in 1916 Tolkien received his embarcation orders, sending him to France. We will follow young Tolkien from this day on until he falls sick with trench fever and returns to England in October.

In cooperation with John Garth, author of the book Tolkien and the Great War and special guest at Tolkien Thing 2014, Tobias M. Eckrich (DTG-Chairman) and Annika Röttinger (historian) have developed this project. The chosen dates are based on the research of John Garth and Janet Brennan Croft and sometimes differ from Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond. The shown photographs are mostly taken from the Imperial War Museum archive. The copyright sources are featured in the graphic.

Where will the project take place?

The project will be published via our Twitter– and Instagram-accounts (in english) and on our facebook page (in german). At the end of the project, all posts will be gathered here on our homepage.

Further reading

If you want to learn more about Tolkien’s experiences in the Great War, we highly recommend John Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War. The threshold to Middle-earth (Harpercollins Publishers 2004) aswell as his blog http://www.johngarth.co.uk/. Other recommended works on the subject are: