John Cazenove Poole (1909)

Details of a letter sent from the trenches to his sisters from J. C. Poole (1909)


1911-12, Hockey XI - J. C. Poole (extract). Please contact the Keble College Archivist for permission to reuse this image.

J.C. Poole in the 1st Hockey XI, 1911 - 1912

John Cazenove Poole entered College in Michaelmas Term, 1909. He was a Classical Exhibitioner. A keen sportsman, he was a member of the Athletics Team (President, 1911 – 1912); 1st Hockey XI, 1911 – 12; 1st Torpid, 1913 – 1914 and the 1st VIII in Eights Week, 1914. A Squire Scholar in 1910, he achieved 2nd Class. Mods. in 1911; 3rd Literae Humaniores, 1913; 2nd Theology and B.A., 1914 and M.A., 1916.

Poole commenced service on 15 August 1914. Lieutenant of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (attached to the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers), he served in France in 1915. Poole was injured in 1915 and, after recuperation, joined the 4th Officer Cadet Battalion stationed at Keble College for the remainder of the war. He was promoted to Captain in 1917. After the war Poole resumed his studies at Bishop’s College, Cheshunt from 1919 – 1920 and subsequently took Holy Orders (d. 1920; p. 1921) and went on to have a successful career in the Church. Poole married in 1918 and again, following the death of his first wife in 1918, in 1924.

Many of Poole’s personal papers have been kindly donated to the Keble College Archives, including a letter to his sisters from his billets near the village of Bois Grenier on 18 January 1915 in which he describes his experiences:

We came out last night and again had a quiet time where I was though the German artillery has got into a bad habit of shelling all round us. They don’t do much damage but it’s annoying and makes a nasty noise, and I’m glad they haven’t devoted their attention to my part of the line yet. Last time’s four days in the trenches was heaven itself compared to the time before. The worst part has been abandoned and none of the part I had was more than six inches deep in water. Also I had a fairly decent dugout to live in and there was a good grass field behind which I could walk round and round at night getting warm.

Bed is first of all about six inches of mud. I rather believe there’s a spring of sorts under my dug out as one night I woke to find my side lying in a pond but it’s not a very serious leakage. On top of the mud is a layer of straw – unthreashed – and then a waterproof sheet, then me with a blanket on top and my Burberry, half an inch deep in mud, rolled up for a pillow.

I reckon I do well if I get my shirt off once a week and in the trenches of course you never take your coat even off. I thought I’d lost my hat the other night. I was posting some sentries about 100 yards in front of our trenches when a particularly violent gust just carried it straight off towards the German lines but luckily they’re a good way off. It was pitch dark and raining and of course on couldn’t use an electric torch out in the open so I had to give it up and went out again to look just as it began to get light, when I found one of the sentries had trodden on it and preserved it, but its rather muddy.

AD 143_8 p 1 & 4. Please contact the Keble College Archivist should you wish to reuse this image.

AD 143/8, pp 1 and 4

AD 143_8 enclosure. Please contact the Keble College Archivist for permission should you wish to reuse this image.

A map enclosed in J. C. Poole's letter



1917-1918, C Company No. 4 Officer Cadet Battalion [2]. Please contact the Keble College Archivist for permission to reuse this image.

C Company No. 4 Officer Cadet Battalion,
1917 - 1918