’A Student in Arms’: Donald Hankey and Edwardian Society at by Ross Davies

By Ross Davies

Donald Hankey used to be a author who observed himself as a ’student of human nature’ and peacetime Edwardian Britain as a society at struggle with itself. Wounded in a murderous sunlight infantry cost close to Ypres, Hankey begun sending despatches to The Spectator from health facility in 1915. Trench existence, wrote Hankey, taught that ’the gentleman’ is a sort now not a social type. in a single calm, humane, eyewitness file after one other less than the byline ’A pupil in Arms’, Hankey printed how the civilian volunteers of Kitchener’s military, many with little stake in Edwardian society, placed their betters to disgrace still. A runaway best-seller on either side of the Atlantic, Hankey’s prose vied in recognition with the poetry of Rupert Brooke. After he was once killed at the Somme in one other sunlight infantry cost, Hankey joined Brooke as a global image of promise foregone. British propaganda subsidized book in the-then impartial usa, but at domestic Hankey needed to sidestep the censors to inform the reality as he observed it. This, the 1st scholarly biography, has been made attainable by way of the restoration of Hankey papers lengthy suggestion misplaced. Dr Davies strains the lifetime of an Edwardian insurgent from privileged beginning right into a banking dynasty that had owned slaves to spokesman for the normal guy who, while placed to the attempt of conflict, proves to be not-so-ordinary. This research of Hankey’s lifestyles, writing and large viewers - army and civilian - enlarges our realizing of ways in the course of the English-speaking global humans controlled to struggle or suffer a conflict for which little had ready them.

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52 Three years after Hughes had been reunited with Dr Arnold, Donald – then at the end of his first year – is present one hot June day at the unveiling of the statue to the ‘humbug’. Now aged 14, Donald is clearly less interested in the ceremony than the accompanying half-day holiday, yet nonetheless sends an account likely to amuse a house-bound mother: 48 50 51 52 49 ‘Five to Ten’, 19 October 1965, HA2/2/2. HA1/25, HA2/8/1 and HA2/8/2. Donald to Helen Hankey, 5 March 1899, HA1/25. HA1/25. Maurice Hankey to Helen Hankey, 11 February 1894, HA1/71.

I hate guns’, Gregory recalled him as saying. ’ Hankey also accepted without demur the infallibility of the Bible. The only infallibility Orde Browne accepted was that of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat and its championing of hedonism over spirituality. Religion occupied many hours’ wrangling between the two subalterns.

The congregation rarely exceeded twelve, Hankey often the only Englishman among them. The bishop, Francis Gregory, had also arrived in 1904, his predecessor having fled the unmanageable diocese of 29 islands strung out across 1,400 miles of ocean. The Church Missionary Society, Gregory found, was packing up to go. ’51 This ‘large work’ was the conversion of indentured Indian sugar plantation workers who by 1904 were the majority of the population. The Church had given up on the Francophone Creoles even though they were divided from France by royalist and religious sentiment.

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