12th March 1915 - death of Sir Edward Hulse

Captain Hulse of Breamore.PNG

On the 12 March 1915 Sir Edward Hulse, the 25 year old heir to Breamore House, was killed at Flanders[1].

I found this sad letter from the writer Rudyard Kipling[2] to Sir Edward’s mother Lady Edith Hulse. Kipling’s son John had also been killed in the war.

The letter is on a website that specializes in auctioning autographs[3]. Given that the auction page may be removed at some stage, I thought it was worthwhile reproducing the words here.

Telegraph: Burwash
Train: Etchingham
* Sussex *

Jan 18 1917

Dear Lady Hulse
Thank you from us both for your goodness in sending us the book of your boys' letters. It will be put away with our other treasures.

I think the most wonderful thing in all these letters is the joy with which the children undertook their work and the way they lived their splendid lives out to the last.

There is nothing one can say; but perhaps, when it is time to talk of peace, we who have lost may be able to do something towards making that peace a firm one.

I hope summer will see [extract finishes]

The website only has the first page of the letter. If I can find the rest, I’ll update this page

There is a lot more on Sir Edward Hulse at the ‘A Century Back’ website:

Picture: From ‘Letters written from the English front in France between September 1914 and March 1915 by Captain Sir Edward Hamilton Hulse, Privately Published 1916’ Link: Letters written from the English front in Franc…


[1] Sir Edward Hamilton Westrow HULSE

[2] Kipling is perhaps most famous for ‘The Jungle Book’ and the poem ‘If’. The poem is:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams
your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!

Despite the last few words, ‘you’ll be a Man, my son’ the poem is not directly about Kipling’s son John. The poem is believed to have been inspired by a man called Leander Starr Jameson, who led a daring raid in the Boer War. The ‘Kipling Journal’ of September 2003 discusses this briefly - the journal is online here. Jameson died on 26 November 1917, a few months after Kipling wrote the letter featured here.

‘If’ was voted Britain’s favourite poem in 1995. Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. He was never made ‘Sir Rudyard Kipling’, nor was he ever poet laureate.

[3] The auction website is Catalogue Details