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Re: [mythsoc] BBC NEWS | Magazine | The Somme and Tolkien

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  • Jonathan Michael Reiter
    Maybe that was for the better. Tolkien was definitely a scholar and not a warrior... Jonathan Michael Reiter jmr ... From: Croft, Janet B. To:
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 5, 2006
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      Maybe that was for the better. Tolkien was definitely a scholar and not a warrior...
      Jonathan Michael Reiter
      jmr
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Croft, Janet B.
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, July 05, 2006 11:58 AM
      Subject: RE: [mythsoc] BBC NEWS | Magazine | The Somme and Tolkien


      Well, let me quote from my original source, the Humphrey Carpenter
      biography:

      "In the summer vacation of 1912 Tolkien went into camp for a fortnight
      with King Edward's Horse, a territorial cavalry regiment in which he had
      recently enrolled. He enjoyed the experience of galloping across the
      Kentish plains - the camp was near Folkestone - but it was a wet and
      windy fortnight and the tents were often blown down in the night. This
      taste of life on horseback was enough for him, and he resigned from the
      regiment after a few months" (p.58)

      That's as detailed as it gets, unfortunately. But I suppose rough
      walking and riding might be more pleasurable if there's a pub at the end
      rather than a drafty and uncooperative tent...

      Janet Brennan Croft
      Editor of Mythlore http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html
      Committee Chair, Mythcon37, http://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon37.html and
      http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/ProgressReport1.htm

      ________________________________

      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of Jonathan Michael Reiter
      Sent: Wednesday, July 05, 2006 10:00 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] BBC NEWS | Magazine | The Somme and Tolkien

      Resigned after a few months? What could have been the matter?
      To quote Patti Smith, "Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses, Horses!"
      Land - Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances/La Mer De, 1976.
      Jonathan Michael Reiter
      jmr
      ps; How can you tell I just dig Horses? I also dig Cats and Dogs.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Croft, Janet B.
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, July 05, 2006 7:20 AM
      Subject: RE: [mythsoc] BBC NEWS | Magazine | The Somme and Tolkien

      As far as Tolkien's horsemanship skills are concerned - in the summer of
      1912, Tolkien enrolled in King Edward's Horse, a territorial regiment,
      and spent two weeks in a camp in Kent in training, but resigned after a
      few months.

      A most informative article on Tolkien's horsemanship is Helen
      Armstrong's "It Bore Me Away: Tolkien as Horseman" (Mallorn 30 [1993
      Sept] pp 29-31). In it she recounts that Priscilla Tolkien told her at
      Oxonmoot in 1990 that Tolkien learned to ride as part of his basic
      officer training. Armstrong's conclusion is that Tolkien's depiction of
      horses is that of someone who did not grow up around them, but grew to
      love them after military training as a young man, though having little
      opportunity to ride after that.

      Signalling officers were trained in many methods of delivering messages
      by hand, including by horse, motorcycle, and bicycle. I have a copy of
      the 1914 training manual for signaling used by the British Army, and the
      chapter on Despatch Riding includes guidelines on when and how to use
      horses, how many miles between halts, and so on.

      (And I can see that if I ever get a chance to do a second edition of my
      book, I need to add an index entry for horses and/or cavalry!)

      Janet Brennan Croft
      Editor of Mythlore http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html
      <http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html>
      Committee Chair, Mythcon37, http://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon37.html
      <http://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon37.html> and
      http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/ProgressReport1.htm
      <http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/ProgressReport1.htm>

      ________________________________

      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com>
      [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
      Behalf
      Of John D Rateliff
      Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 6:00 PM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com <mailto:mythsoc%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] BBC NEWS | Magazine | The Somme and Tolkien

      The "Schoolmaster" would have been Michael Tolkien.
      Pretty much a work of fiction, I fear. Whoever came up with that
      story doesn't take into account No Man's Land, with its deep mud and
      multiple barriers of barbed wire -- not something a horse could
      casually gallop across.
      As for "Uhlans", wikipedia says some fought in the early weeks of
      the war (e.g., summer/fall 1914) but were then dismounted once trench
      warfare began or else transferred to the Eastern Front, where calvary
      was still actually effective.
      There are also minor quibbles, but let them pass. Clearly
      apocryphal.

      On Jul 3, 2006, at 12:53 PM, Stolzi wrote:
      > http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5133000.stm
      <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5133000.stm>
      <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5133000.stm
      <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5133000.stm> >
      >
      > Interesting, but no mention of John Garth's book, though I would
      > bet she has
      > read it, or at least heard him speak.
      >
      > Also I have some trouble with the comment (presently at the bottom)
      > by the
      > Revd John Waddington-Feather. Even if he does give Tolkien's son
      > (which
      > one?) as his authority.
      >
      > A signals officer riding around behind the lines on a cavalry horse?
      > Demonic Uhlans? Reeeeally?
      >
      > I suspect the scene if it ever occurred, occurred primarily, as
      > well as
      > secondarily, in one of Tolkien's nightmares.
      >
      > And if the story is true, why has it never been heard before - by me,
      > anyway? Have any of you heard it?
      >
      > Diamond Proudbrook

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    • Merlin DeTardo
      Did anything further come of last summer s questionable report of Tolkien s equestrian adventure on the Western Front? This week at TheOneRing.net, there is a
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 12, 2006
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        Did anything further come of last summer's questionable report of
        Tolkien's equestrian adventure on the Western Front?

        This week at TheOneRing.net, there is a discussion of the use that
        Tolkien makes of horses in LotR; the first part of the discussion
        appears here:

        http://www.theonering.net/rumour_mill/rpg/viewer/readingroom/457D98CE
        00026287.html

        One respondent to that thread noted the Rev. John Waddington-
        Feather's story. There as here, some people expressed doubts (and
        having subsequently found the discussion here, I have posted a link
        in the TORn thread to this list's archives, recommending
        particularly John and Janet's responses). One participant in the
        new discussion has written to Waddington-Feather for further
        information (no response yet), but had someone here (or elsewhere,
        if you know) already followed up on that angle? Diamond?

        -Merlin DeTardo


        >>---"Stolzi" <Stolzi@...> wrote:
        >> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5133000.stm
        >> Also I have some trouble with the comment (presently at the
        bottom) by the Revd John Waddington-Feather. Even if he does give
        Tolkien's son (which one?) as his authority.
        >> A signals officer riding around behind the lines on a cavalry
        horse? Demonic Uhlans? Reeeeally?
        >> I suspect the scene if it ever occurred, occurred primarily, as
        well as secondarily, in one of Tolkien's nightmares.
        >> And if the story is true, why has it never been heard before -
        by me, anyway? Have any of you heard it?
        >> Diamond Proudbrook
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        Merlin, I m afraid that Diamond Proudbuck , whom you quote in this matter, was Mary Stolzenbach, who passed away last summer. (I hoped to convey this to you
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 13, 2006
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          Merlin,

          I'm afraid that "Diamond Proudbuck", whom you quote in this matter,
          was Mary Stolzenbach, who passed away last summer.

          (I hoped to convey this to you privately, but your reply-to e-mail
          address in your post (<emptyD@...>) appears to be fictitious.)

          Carl
        • Merlin DeTardo
          Carl and everyone: Please accept my apologies for addressing the late Mary Stolzenbach -- I had no idea. My belated condolences to all who knew her. Carl,
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 13, 2006
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            Carl and everyone:

            Please accept my apologies for addressing the late Mary Stolzenbach --
            I had no idea. My belated condolences to all who knew her.

            Carl, thank you for letting me know.

            -Merlin DeTardo



            P.S. My e-mail address is not fictitious; as Carl notes it
            begins "emptyD", and it ends with "@...". -MTD


            >>--"Carl F. Hostetter" <Aelfwine@...> wrote:
            >> Merlin,
            >> I'm afraid that "Diamond Proudbuck", whom you quote in this
            matter, was Mary Stolzenbach, who passed away last summer.
            >> (I hoped to convey this to you privately, but your reply-to e-mail
            address in your post (<emptyD@...>) appears to be fictitious.)
            >> Carl
          • William Cloud Hicklin
            The Rev. Mr. Waddington-Feather did reply to a poster on The Barrow-Downs forum. I m pretty certain that he s not a crank or a liar, that he really is
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 13, 2006
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              The Rev. Mr. Waddington-Feather did reply to a poster on The
              Barrow-Downs forum. I'm pretty certain that he's not a crank
              or a liar, that he really is relating what he remembers of
              what Michael T. told him years ago. The problem is that he
              may have misheard or misremembered, that Michael may have
              misheard or misremembered, and moreover Michael apparently
              wasn't above spinning a yarn.


              I doubt that any such event happened in waking life. Not only
              was Tolkien's duty and the Somme battlefield such that the
              whole story is unlikely in the extreme, but I've also
              determined that the 1 and 2 Leib-Husaren (Totenkopf) were
              nowhere near the Somme in 1916. (That leaves the 17er
              Braunschweig- anybody know where they were?)

              There is a possibility that Tolkien had a nightmare along
              those lines (although I suppose in a classic dream pattern
              that final jump would have led to awakening, not landing).
              Perhaps the subconscious source was war propaganda. After all,
              the association of skull-and-crossbones badges with German
              cavalry must have come from somewhere: and Uhlans* figured
              prominently in "rape of Belgium" stories. In fact, the story
              has some of the flavor of the "tales from the front" the
              British papers loved to print in the early days of the war,
              especially in connection with Mons (where there was a great
              deal of cavalry activity). Additionally, in fall 1914 German
              cavalry still wore their busbys and shakoes, whereas by mid-
              1916 they had gone to standard helmets.

              *Uhlan is a Polish loan-word for lancer, a term which most
              German armies adopted during or after the Napoleonic wars.
              However, in 1914 the IGS issued lances to all cavalry
              regiments, and withdrew sabres soon thereafter; Allied
              soldiers understandably called all German horse "Uhlans,"
              regardless of regiment.
            • Merlin DeTardo
              Thank you for that information. I d not visited the Barrow-Downs forum before. That discussion can be found here:
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 13, 2006
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                Thank you for that information. I'd not visited the Barrow-Downs
                forum before. That discussion can be found here:

                http://www.forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=12979&page=1

                The correspondence from Fr. Waddington-Feather appears in message
                #31, posted July 5, 2006.

                I think one small correction should be made to Waddington-Feather's
                remarks posted there: he writes that Tolkien "was Professor of
                English at Leeds just before I went there", but Tolkien left in 1925,
                and Waddington-Feather, b. 1933, would have attended in the early
                1950s. His larger point about Tolkien's lasting influence on Leeds's
                English Dept. (at that time) apparently stands, if I correctly
                remember Tom Shippey's comments on that point.

                -Merlin DeTardo


                >>---"William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:
                >> The Rev. Mr. Waddington-Feather did reply to a poster on The
                Barrow-Downs forum. I'm pretty certain that he's not a crank or a
                liar, that he really is relating what he remembers of what Michael T.
                told him years ago. The problem is that he may have misheard or
                misremembered, that Michael may have misheard or misremembered, and
                moreover Michael apparently wasn't above spinning a yarn.
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