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A STUDENT IN ARMS

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A STUDENT IN ARMS

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    DONALD HANKEY
A STUDENT IN ARMS - PREFACE - DONALD HANKEY. Second Lieutenant 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Killed in Action on the Somme, October 12, 1916. His as he in a peaceful urn shall rest, His name a g eate zampte stands, to show How strangely high endeavou s may be blest When piety and valour jointly go. READERS of the Spectator will hear with deep regret of the death of Lieutenant Donald Hankey. In the papers written by him over the signature of A Student in Arms they found consolation, interest, and delight during the autumn and winter of 1916 and the spring of this year. He proved an inspired interpreter of the Dryden, lines on the death of Cromwell. private soldier. He was worthy to be named liaison officer between the nation and its Army. A Student in h s died as he wished to die-in action, on the Somme. It is seldom desirable that an editor should break away from that anonymity which is the antiseptic of journalism, and strike a personal note in regard either to himself or his contributors. I feel, however, that in this case my readers will pardon me if I speak directly of this brilliant member of my staff and own in plain terms what I and they have lost. Though I am sure it ie wise that a rigid reticence in the region of personal emotion should be the journalists rule, there are occasions when that rule must be abandoned. Certainly it cannot be maintained if I am to write of A Student in Arms, for towards him I had come to entertain the feelings of a brother. I looked with love and admiiation on his genius, for genius it was in the true sense an inspiring spirit, an invisible b e that burnt in the man like a lamp, a lamp lit by the hand of God. In spite of a certain fiemness of soul, and a disposition to an occasional outbreak of something which one might almost call waywardness of judgment, he was at heart one of the most reasonable, and indeed humble-minded men I have ever known. I used sometimes, though sharing to the full his admiration of the private soldier, to be amused at the way in which he looked upon hi friends in the ranks. It was almost a case of a tigress and her cubs. Yet, in spite of that, when I sent him back some articles in which I thought he went too far in his chastening of the bad or indifferent type of officer, and had given an impression--or shall I say was in danger of giving an impression -which would have been unfair to our officers as a whole, he took my point at once and generously and openly admitted that he was wrong. The result was the admirable article on The Good Side of Militarism -published on September 2-which was perhaps one of the best things he ever wrote. Only ten or twelve days ago, and so only a few days before his death, he returned me a proof of the article on the soldiers attitude towards religion, Dont Worry. Surely a nobler sermon was never preached. Read in the light of his death on the Somme, every word has a special meaning. It is a personal message. In his letter to me he spoke of the pleasure which he felt at going back to the trenches, and the opportunity he would have, as he said, of testing once more in practice his theories as to the fear of death, theories which he had set forth in another article soon to be printed in these pages. When I read his words I felt something of what the Quaker diarist felt when he met Crornwell just before his end...   show more
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  • PDF | 256 pages
  • DONALD HANKEY
  • Jepson Press
  • Unknown
  • 7
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