The Sixth Form English students were lucky enough to hear a remarkably interesting speech made by Dennis Silk on ‘Siegfried Sassoon and the Great War’ just before the end of the Lent term. Mr Silk spoke eloquently and passionately about the English poet, author and soldier that he once knew.

Mr Silk took us from Sassoon’s birth in 1886, explaining the misery that he went through, both when his parents divorced and again when only a few years later his father died. He went on to describe his years as a soldier – the experiences of which served as the main source of inspiration for much of his poetry – and finishing with some details of his life after the war. Throughout this Mr Silk read out to us a few of Sassoon’s poems which he had collected together.

What was truly amazing about this talk was the fact that Mr. Silk was able to tell us about this incredibly talented man from his own memories and experiences, describing their friendship as “the most formative” of his life. He allowed us to see Siegfried Sassoon not only as the great war poet, but also as the “erratic driver”, and a keen cricket player, giving us a new perspective. We were even fortunate enough to see photos of the man himself which were actually taken by Mr Silk’s wife.

After the tremendous lecture, Mr and Mrs Silk, accompanied by five students and a few members of the English department, were given a wonderful meal, kindly provided by the kitchen staff. During this we had the chance to get to know the Silks a little better, asking many questions about their memories of such an accomplished man. To Dennis and his wife, we thank you for sharing your knowledge with us: it was a magnificent and priceless experience.

Katie Seymour
LVI, West