Then & Now: A foreign field

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The Independent Online
1915: A valediction to Rupert Brooke, written by the First Lord of the Admiralty, is published in the 'Times':

'Rupert Brooke is dead. A telegram from the Admiralty at Lemnos tells us that this life has closed at the moment when it seemed to have reached its springtime. A voice had become audible, a note had been struck, more true, more thrilling, more able to do justice to the nobility of our youth in arms engaged in this present war, than any other. The voice has been swiftly stilled. Only the echoes and the memory remain; but they will linger.

During the last few months of his life, the poet- soldier told with all the simple force of genius the sorrow of youth about to die. He expected to die; he was willing to die for the dear England whose beauty and majesty he knew; and he advanced towards the brink in perfect serenity.

The thoughts to which he gave expression in the very few incomparable war sonnets which he has left behind will be shared by many thousands of young men . . . They are a whole history and revelation of Rupert Brooke himself. Joyous, fearless, versatile, deeply instructed, he was all that one would wish England's noblest sons to be in days when no sacrifice but the most precious is acceptable, and the most precious is that which is most freely proffered.'

1993: A naval base is being built by the Greek government on the site of Rupert Brooke's grave, on the Aegean island of Skyros. This 'corner of a foreign field' is likely to be surrounded by a series of concrete bunkers.

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