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Shakespeare Book presented to disabled soldiers

Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:41 pm

I was wondering if anyone else had a relative who received a copy of The Works of William Shakespeare.

These were apparently given to soldiers disabled in World War I under the Members of the Council of the League of the Empire.

I have the copy given to my Grandfather, William Frederick Wallis, 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Having spoken to the staff at The Rifles Museum, the military expert at the checkpoint at WDYTYA exhibition and the staff from Forces War Records, no-one has ever heard of it, nor seen a copy.

Do I have a rare item?

Re: Shakespeare Book presented to disabled soldiers

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:03 pm

I saw your post in the latest WDYTYA magazine and can advise that I too have a copy of The Works of William Shakespeare which had been presented to my Great Grandfather, Arthur Fisher, after he had been disabled in action in 1914. I have in the past tried to find out more information, but to no avail, and so cannot comment on whether this is a rare item or not.

My Great Grandfather was a Driver in the Royal Horse Artillery and received his honourable discharge in March 1915. His copy has inside the front cover the following; 'In remembrance of F.M. Earl Kitchener of Khartoum Born June 24th 1850 Died June 5th 1916. To Arthur Fisher Driver K Battery R.H.A. who was disabled fighting in the Great War 1914 - 19 . Presented under the auspices of the League of the Empire'.

Given the date of Kitchener's death and the Great War reference not having an end date my assumption has been that this was presented to him sometime after June 1916, but before the end of the war in 1918.

The presentation of a book of the Works of Shakespeare has always seemed a little ironic to me as his disability was due to him being blinded following injuries received in the field.

Hopefully other posts may be able to offer more specific information.

Re: Shakespeare Book presented to disabled soldiers

Thu May 23, 2013 10:17 am

No we have not received any such copy. Did you or any one of your relative receive the book?

Re: Shakespeare Book presented to disabled soldiers

Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:43 pm

I have one of these, presented to my grandfather and listong the battles he took part in - Loos, Arras and Ypres before he was injured and disabled. The earliest he could have been given the book would be late 1917.
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