Siegfried Sassoon: Facts About the English Poet

Here are some facts about Siegfried Sassoon.

  • Siegfried Sassoon was born on 8th September 1886 in Matfield, Kent.
  • He went to school at The New Beacon Prepartory School (in Sevenoaks) and Marlborough College (he was a member of Cotton House). He went on to read History at Clare College, Cambridge.

  • Siegfried Sassoon had enough money to live on without having to earn a wage, and he left Cambridge without a degree. He spent his time writing poetry, hunting and playing cricket. He sometimes played cricket with Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of the Sherlock Holmes books).
  • Siegfried Sassoon joined the British Army as soon as it looked like World War 1 was imminent. He was attached to the Sussex Yeomanry, but broke his arm in a riding accident before he could leave England.

Siegfried Sassoon

  • After he recovered, Siegfried was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the 3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and in November 1915 he was sent to France.
  • He met Robert Graves, a fellow poet, and they became good friends. Robert Graves had a massive influence on Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry. Sassoon’s war poetry reveals the ugly truths of trench warfare. This realism was in stark contrast to the Romantic poems he penned as a youth.
  • Siegfried Sassoon was an incredibly brave and effective soldier. He was nicknamed ‘Mad Jack’ by his men for his courage under fire.
  • On 27th July 1916 he received the Military Cross for gallantry.
  • In 1917, following the death of one his friends, David Cuthbert Thomas, Siegfried Sassoon refused to return to duty from convalescent leave.
  • He sent a letter (entitled Finished with the War: A Soldier’s Declaration) to his commanding officer, the press and Parliament.
  • He was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh, to be treated for shell shock.
  • At Craiglockhart, Siegfried Sassoon met Wilfred Owen, a fellow war poet. They formed a close relationship and Sassoon was instrumental in Wilfred Owen’s development as a poet.
  • Siegfried Sassoon returned to the front line in 1918, but was shot in the head by a British soldier who thought he was a German.
  • He returned to Britain to recover from his wound, and left the army in 1919.
  • In 1928 Siegfried Sassoon published a fictionalised autobiography called Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. He followed this with Memoirs of an Infantry Man and Sherston’s Progress.
  • Siegfried Sassoon died on 1st Spetmeber 1967 at the age of 80. He is buried at St Andrew’s Church, Mells (Somerset).
  • In 1985, along with Wilfred Owen and other World War 1 poets, he was commemorated in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey.