was born into a wealthy family on 8 September 1886 in Kent, and until the
outbreak of the Great War he lived the life of a typical English sporting
gentleman. With the onset of war, at the age of 28, Sassoon enlisted first
as a cavalry trooper in the Sussex Yeomanry before transferring to the Royal
Welch Fusiliers as an officer in may 1915. He quickly developed the name
'Mad Jack' for his fearless courage on the Western Front, after volunteering
to lead night raids. As
the war progressed, Sassoon would increasingly develop angry feelings concerning
the conduct of the war.
War Poets -
was sent to Craiglockhart for writing a letter of protest to his Colonel in
July 1917, stating his alarm at the prolongation of the war, and the political
errors that he felt were leading to the unnecessary sacrifice of soldiers' lives.
Sassoon believed that the war was being continued longer than was necessary,
by those who had the power to end it. This letter known as the 'Soldiers Declaration'
was seen as unpatriotic. However, Sassoon had been a good and courageous officer
and soldier. In the spring of 1916 he won the Military Cross for rescuing, under
heavy fire, a lance-corporal who had been lying wounded close to the enemy line.
Sassoon's regimental authorities were reluctant to court martial him but they
were unable to ignore such a letter. They treated his protest with equanimity
and insisted that he must be suffering from a nervous breakdown and could not
be held responsible for his actions. It was under these circumstances that Sassoon
found himself bound for Craiglockhart.
on underlined text for more information - click on photograph for a larger image