Collection of poems tells the stories of Great War soldiers from Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 15:54 09 November 2018

Robert Pike's latest book - a collection of poems inspired by the Great War. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Robert Pike's latest book - a collection of poems inspired by the Great War. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Robert Pike from Saffron Walden has researched the Great War for nearly 40 years and his latest book of poetry tells some of the stories of soldiers from the town.

Robert Pike's latest book - a collection of poems inspired by the Great War. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDRobert Pike's latest book - a collection of poems inspired by the Great War. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Company of These Fellows is a collection of 50 poems inspired by the First World War, as well as poems about Robert’s family.

“We have a home in France and we visit the battlefields a lot,” Robert said. “The First World War has always been an interest of mine, from the moment I got my granddad’s medals.”

Robert’s first book, published in 2000, The Victor Heroes, is a definitive piece of work on each of the 159 men named on Saffron Walden’s war memorial. He also published his first collection of poems about soldiers from Saffron Walden in 2015.

“I wrote some poetry when I first met my wife, but I’d never written any until these poetry books,” Robert said. “It was a chance encounter with a book of photographs. I came across some photos taken by an American nurse at the end of the First World War – one of the photos was a group of widows visiting the battlefield where their husbands had been killed. One of the ladies was very pretty and wearing silk stockings and I just sat down and wrote a poem about her and her silk stockings. That was five years ago.”

Robert is encouraging residents of Saffron Walden to light a candle on Sunday to remember the soldiers who never came back.

“There are people living in houses where soldiers lived and they didn’t come back - so I’m keen for people to light a candle in their houses in Saffron Walden to remember these men on Sunday,” Robert said.

The men on Saffron Walden’s war memorial lived in Abbey Lane, Alpha Place, Ashdon Road, Bridge Street, Castle Street, Church Street, Common Hill, Cross Street, Debden Road, East Street, Fairycroft, Farmadine Grove, Freshwell Street, George Street, Gold Street, High Street, Ingleside Place, Market Row, Market Hill, Little Walden Road, Museum Street, New Road, Pleasant Valley, Prospect Place, Radwinter Road, Station Road, Thaxted Road, Victoria Avenue, Victoria Gardens and Westfields.

If you would like to find out more about a soldier who lived on your road, e-mail Robert on robert.pike@ntlworld.com.

The Company of These Fellows can be purchased on Amazon.

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