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Knight, Dame Laura and E.A.Mackintosh

Identifier

024357

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Poem by Euart Alan Mackintosh

Mackintosh was born in Brighton in 1893. He was educated at St Paul’s School and at Christ Church, Oxford.  He left Oxford to join the 5th Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders  (The Sutherland and Caithness Highland), and in ]uly 1915 was sent to France, where he was awarded the Military Cross in the following May.  He was gassed and wounded at High Wood during the Somme Offensive and returned to England, where he trained the Cadet Corps at Cambridge. He returned to the front in 1917, and was killed at Cambrai on November 21st.

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Take Off (1944) – a large and complex group portrait of the four-man crew of a Short Stirling bomber, deep in concentration, preparing for take off, which Knight painted over several months at RAF Mildenhall. Knight lived in the WAAF Officers' Mess while on the base, and the RAF gave her the use of an obsolete Stirling to work in while preparing the painting. When Knight learned that the navigator in the picture, Raymond Frankish Escreet, had been killed in action, she arranged that his family received a photograph of the painting.

A description of the experience

In Memoriam Private D. Sutherland killed in Action in the German Trench, May 16, 1916, and the Others who Died

So you were David’s father,
And he was your only son,
And the new-cut peats are rotting
And the work is left undone,
Because of an old man weeping,
Just an old man in pain,
For David, his son David,
That will not come again.

Oh, the letters he wrote you,
And I can see them still,
Not a Word of the fighting
But just the sheep on the hill
And how you should get the crops in
Ere the year got stormier,
And the Bosches have got his body,
And I was his officer.

You were only David’s father,
But I had fifty sons
When we went up in the evening
Under the arch of the guns,
And we came back at twilight -
O God! I heard them call
To me for help and pity
That could not help at all.

Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers’,
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying,
And hold you While you died.

Happy and young and gallant,
They saw their first-born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low,
The piteous writhing bodies,
They screamed, ‘Don’t leave me, Sir,’
For they were only your fathers
But I was your officer.

The source of the experience

Knight, Dame Laura

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

War.

Commonsteps

References