Commemoration

In two days time the following ‘In Memoriam’ will appear in The Times:

CALDERON George Leslie, Russianist, journalist, dramatist, anthropologist, adventurer, killed at Gallipoli 4 June 1915. ‘What he believed, he did’ (Laurence Binyon).

Since George wrote more for The Times than any other newspaper, it is possible there will also be a tribute to him on its pages. I shall give a full account of commemorations of George’s death in posts later in June.

George Calderon was the oldest member of Trinity College, Oxford, to fall in action in the 1914-18 War. His name is honoured in a commemorative exhibition currently outside the College Hall, alongside the earliest manuscript of Laurence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’.

Numerous people across the world have told me that they will ‘raise a glass’ to George’s memory on 4 June.

The ‘Calderonia’ team will mark the anniversary privately at Hampstead.

If you have followed this blog covering the last year of George Calderon’s life, you might like to remember him and his supreme sacrifice in the two minutes after 12.00 noon on 4 June, the probable time of his death in the Third Battle of Krithia, Gallipoli.

*                    *                     *

On this day, 2 June 1915, Ian Hamilton issued orders for the attack across the whole of the Helles front to be launched on the morning of 4 June. These orders described the general objectives as follows.

The French Corps on the extreme Dardanelles side was to capture the high ground overlooking Keres Dere and establish a footing at two points on the left bank of this nullah — actually the most difficult task of the whole operation. Next to them, on the left, the Royal Naval Division and 42nd Division were to capture the enemy’s forward line, but ‘every opportunity was to be seized for exploiting any success’ (Official History). Further left, roughly between Krithia Nullah and the Aegean shore, the 29th Division (including the 1st KOSB) had the bigger task of capturing three lines of trenches and advancing to within a kilometre of Krithia itself.

Today was a Wednesday. In Kent the weather was bright, almost touching 21 degrees C. At Foxwold Kittie received George’s letter of 18 May, forwarded from Hampstead (see my post of 18 May). In this letter he said he would arrive at Malta next day, and ‘Nobody knows where he is going’. So Kittie still had no idea that he was at Gallipoli.

Next entry: ‘We’re the Jims’

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About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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