CWGC marks centenary of First World War poet's death
14 April 2015
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is commemorating
the 100th anniversary of the death of First World War poet, Rupert
Brooke, by participating in a unique exhibition on the Greek island
of Skyros where he is buried.
The exhibition 'Centenary of the Death of Rupert Brooke' has
been organised by the Skyros Municipality and Central Greece
(Sterea Ellada) Regional Authority in cooperation with the British
Embassy, to showcase the life of the poet and will open on
23 April - the day that Brooke died - until the end of the summer.
IWM and the Rupert Brookes Association are partners in the
The CWGC, which cares for Brooke's grave, will be highlighting
its work in Greece. "We are delighted to have a
presence at this exhibition during this significant historic
milestone. This opportunity will give a unique insight into
our work to commemorate 18,000 Commonwealth servicemen and women
who died in Greece during both world wars," said David Symons,
CWGC's Director for the Mediterranean Area.
"We hope that this exhibition will inspire more people to visit
the war graves in our care ensuring that those who died will never
be forgotten. These include graves throughout Greece,
including the island of Lemnos which played a critical role in the
Gallipoli Campaign during the First World War."
The war poets have significantly shaped the way that we see the
First World War and the CWGC commemorates more than eighty
published soldier poets who lost their lives in this war.
Brooke is the first great poet who died in service during the
First World War. In February 1915, he set sail for Gallipoli
in Turkey and on board ship developed septicaemia. He
died on St Georges Day - 23 April 1915 - on a hospital ship
off Skyros and was buried in an isolated olive grove on the
island. His gravestone is engraved with his most famous poem
"If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England."
Using personal influence, Brooke gained a commission in the
Royal Naval Division in September 1914 and saw the latter stages of
the withdrawal from Antwerp in October.
He embarked for the Dardanelles in April 1915, but contracted
septicaemia on the way and died on a hospital ship in the Aegean
two days before the Gallipoli landings. Brooke was buried in a
solitary grave on the island of Skyros. Instructions on how
to find his grave can be found on CWGC's new app and on the website
At the outbreak of war, Brooke was the leading light of the
Georgian movement - a group of English poets whose works appeared
in a series of five anthologies named Georgian Poetry, published
during the early years of the reign of King George V.
His five 'war' sonnets of 1914, upon which his reputation as a
war poet rests, reflect accepted attitudes at the outbreak of war -
patriotism, idealism, sacrifice, romantic death - ideas abandoned
by many later poets in the face of the realities of the trench
warfare that Brooke never experienced.
Young, handsome, talented and privileged, Brooke's early death
came to symbolise the heroic sacrifice of the 'fallen
warrior'. His obituary in The Times was written by Winston
The CWGC has also produced a free teaching resource on the war
poets for schools. Poets of the Great War is an
insightful introduction to a variety of poets who inspired
generations. The booklet engages pupils through poetry, personal
history and poignant imagery.
Poets of the Great War can be used as a teaching resource for
pupils within Key Stage Three and Four and incorporates:
• English literature
• Remembrance activities
Full press release available below: