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?
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:
- Blackham, Robert S.: Tolkien and the Peril of War (The History Press Ltd 2013)
- Croft, Janet Brennan: War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien (Praeger Publishers 2004)
- Croft, Janet Brennan (Hg.): Baptism of Fire. The Birth of the Modern British Fantastic in World War I (Mythopoeic Press 2015)
- Loconte, Joseph: A Hobbit, a Wardrobe and a great War. How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis rediscovered faith, friendship, and heroism in the cataclysm of 1914-1918 (Thomas Nelson Publishers 2015)
- Hiley, Margaret: The Loss and the Silence (Walking Tree Publishers 2011)
- Scull, Christina; Hammond, Wayne G.: The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion & Guide. Reader’s Guide & Chronology (Harpercollins Publishers 2006)
- Shippey, Tom: J.R.R. Tolkien. Author of the Century (Harpercollins Publishers 2001)