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Who was "Gervais killed at the Dardanelles"?

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CRICHTONSTU2730 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 May 2012 at 11:31
Margaret Adelaide Wilson wrote a poem entitled "Gervais (Killed at the Dardanelles)".

Bees hummed and rooks called hoarsely outside the quiet room
Where by an open window Gervais, the restless boy,
Fretting the while for cricket, read of Patroclos' doom
And flower of youth a-dying by far-off windy Troy.

Do the old tales, half-remembered, come back to haunt him now
Who leaving his glad school-days and putting boyhood by
Joined England's bitter Iliad? Greek beauty on the brow
That frowns with dying wonder up to Hissarlik's sky!

I have checked the CWGC site (under British, Australian, New Zealand soldiers) and done a wide web search without success.

Does anyone know who Gervais was?
Any help would be most welcome.

Moriaty
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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2012 at 17:18
An interesting little query. I have found the poem published in a book entitled "A book of Yale review verse" which was published in 1917. So the poem was obviously written close to the time of the campaign.
 
I wonder if "Gervais" is actually the poet's creation to represent the poets who died at the Dardanelles, Rupert Brooke, Denis Browne, just a thought, due to the homeric relationship between the poem and the poets.
 
I have searched all the usual resources using variations of the name but to no avail.
 
 
Mal
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRICHTONSTU2730 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 21:57
Thanks Mal, you may be right. I tried to search for the poet Margaret Adelaide Wilson, but, again, drew a blank.  As much of her work was published in American publications I wonder if she was American?
A bit of a mystery.
Moriaty
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Trounson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 00:30
Gervais could have also been a given name as it was to at least two ANZACs but alas these two are not Dardanelles related. Unfortunately the CWGC site records certainly contain a lot servicemen with the initial G. which could be the man concerned but without a whole lot of luck it would be very hard to find out.
ANZACPRIDE
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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 07:50
Hi Peter,

I have searched Soldiers died in the great war using variants of possible spellings and no joy on that front. I also checked the medal index cards and could not identify any Gallipoli casualty with that name.

Mal
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 09:12
In the words of the sage "This was bugging me". So I checked the Royal Naval Division * Royal Navy Casualties and nothing showed up.
 
I then fiddled around with my Soldiers Died in the Great War disc and guess what I came up with (its a tenous link and possibly unconfirmable);
 
7416 Corporal John Gervase Claude Tonge 2n. Bn Hampshire Regiment.
Born: Leytonstone, Essex Resided: Sidcup, Kent Enlisted: Portsmouth
Killed in action Gallipoli 6/8/1915
Helles Memorial: Panel 125-134 or 223-226 228-229 & 328.
 
 
I still think that the name was a symbolic Homeric invention, perhaps we may never know.


Edited by Mal Murray - 11 May 2012 at 10:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRICHTONSTU2730 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 13:05
Thanks Peter and Mal for your suggestions, I have done a bit of checking on Acting Corporal Tonge. He was a regular soldier with the 2nd Hampshires and appears on the 1911 census in South Africa, a 25 year old shoeing smith, single.  Interestingly his MIC doesnt mention a 1915 Star and does not say KIA.

However, I think you are right, Gervais was not an actual person.

Moriaty


Edited by CRICHTONSTU2730 - 11 May 2012 at 13:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2012 at 11:52
The following information regarding the history of the name "Gervase/Gervaise" would possibly support the symbolic use of the name by the poet.
 

Gervais is an Old French name of uncertain derivation. Some suggest that it is related to the Old German Gervas, and thus to the Germanic 'ger' meaning "spear" and to an unexplained second element, perhaps the Celtic 'vass' ("servant"). Other point at the Greek noun 'geras' meaning "honour".

As for the poet herself I have searched and it would appear that she was an American, although I cannot find any biographical profile for her anywhere.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BOBANCRE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Nov 2015 at 10:42
Gervais (Killed at the Dardanelles). Originally published in the Yale Review. This could be Lieutenant Murray Chamberlain Gervase Mathew, 28th. Punjabis att. 14th. Sikhs dow 4.7.15. Buried Chatby Military Cemetery, Egypt, RQ G479)
Wise, Margaret Hilda 1918 - Canadian Poems of the Great War ed. John Gavin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRICHTONSTU2730 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2016 at 14:27
Very belatedly, thanks for this
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