Walden war historian on the inspiration behind his latest book

Author Robert E Pike of Saffron Walden with grandson Jacob with his book 'The Coming Night is Full of Stars'

Author Robert E Pike, in his Saffron Walden home with his book called The Coming Night is Full of Stars, held by his grandson Jacob - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

A life-long interest in people and their lives has led World War One historian Robert E Pike to write another book.

The Coming Night Is Full of Stars is a collection of poetry and prose.

It's title was inspired by the last line of a poem written by Captain Richard Molesworth Dennys, who died in 1916 after being injured at The Battle of The Somme.

Author Robert E Pike's book 'The Coming Night is Full of Stars', Saffron Walden, Essex

Saffron Walden author Robert E Pike's book called The Coming Night is Full of Stars - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Walden resident Robert, a former English teacher, said he has always been interested in World War One.

"I was very much into war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

"Both my grandfathers fought in World War One.

"My mother, when she was on holiday, bought me a privately printed diary of an officer in the infantry. One summer we went to find his grave.

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"That set the ball rolling. It has been an ongoing process ever since."

His first book The Victor Heroes traced the 159 names on the town's war memorial, with a foreword written by then Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst.

Front cover of The Victor Heroes by Robert Pike. The foreword was written by Sir Alan Haselhurst MP

Front cover of The Victor Heroes by Robert Pike. The foreword was written by Sir Alan Haselhurst MP - Credit: Robert Pike

The research took around 10 years to complete through a trawl of information from local newspapers which had been scanned on to microfiche in the library.

There was a book signing at the library and The Victor Heroes was displayed in the window at Hart's Books.

Front cover of For Still We Hear Them Singing by Robert E Pike, a book of poems

Front cover of For Still We Hear Them Singing by Robert E Pike, a book of poems - Credit: Robert E Pike

Poetry book For Still We Hear Them Singing was Robert's second book, followed by poetry and photography book The Company Of These Fellows whose title was inspired by a war memorial tombstone in France.

Front cover of The Company Of These Fellows by Robert E Pike, a book of poems

Front cover of The Company Of These Fellows by Robert E Pike, a book of poems - Credit: Robert E Pike

The latest book is a collection of poetry and prose written by Robert and his family, again inspired by the war and the people whose lives were impacted.

His research found a number of poignant stories.

One of the names is Tom Smith, who lived in Walden's Debden Road. He left home for New Zealand but returned to England to join the war effort in 1918 and was sent to France.

Robert said: "He spent a short time with his brother and fell in love with his brother's wife. He was killed after about five days in France."

A poem written by Ben Pike to mark his father's 70th birthday is also included.

The Coming Night Is Full Of Stars is available online and from Saffron Walden's Tourist Information Centre.




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