On Tuesday 10th November, poets from the Bath Poetry Cafe and their friends gave an evening of readings from the second year of the Great War. An audience of sixty gathered in the Elwin Room at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square to hear English and European pieces composed during 1915. The poems were accompanied by a slide show of archival photographs and a linking narrative composed by Cafe Organiser Sue Boyle. Andrew Lawrence led the singing of It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Keep the Home Fires Burning, two of 1915’s most popular and iconic songs. Directed by Zanna Beswick, Cafe poets Ama Bolton, Stephanie Boxall, Ray Fussell, Caroline Heaton, Nikki Kenna, Sue Sims and Shirley Wright were joined by friends Martin Elphick, Luke Hardy, Andy Paterson and Patrick Shervington who between them held the audience spellbound as they brought back to poignant life the voices from the war.
The evening was given both to commemorate the lives lost in the Great War and to raise funds for a range of service charities. Major Roger Evans of the Royal British Legion spoke about the work of the different service charities and collected the donations. The Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Ian Gilchrist spent the evening with us. We were also very fortunate to have the company of Ann Cullis, B&NES Senior Arts Development Officer, Betty Suchar, Chair of the BRLSI Management Committee, members of the Friendship Circle from Larkhall and Mrs Roma Tomkins whose family photographs allowed us to trace the fortunes of our local regiment, the Somerset Light Infantry, during that second dreadful year on the Western Front.