Julian Grenfell

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Person.png Julian Grenfell  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Julian Grenfell.jpg
Born30 March 1888
Westminster, London, England
Died26 May 1915 (Age 27)
Boulogne, Pas-de-Calais, France
Alma materEton College, Balliol College (Oxford)
Parents • William Grenfell
• Ethel Grenfell
RelativesFrancis Octavius Grenfell
War poet killed by a shell in World War I.

Julian Grenfell was a contemporary of Desmond Morton at Eton. He was a war poet killed by a shell in World War I.


Julian Grenfell was born at 4 St James's Square, London, the eldest son of William Grenfell, later Baron Desborough, and Ethel Priscilla Fane, daughter of Julian Fane. He studied at Eton College and Balliol College at the University of Oxford.

The Great War

He enlisted in 1907 and subsequently fought during the First World War. In January 1915 he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order and as captain of 1st Royal Dragoons Grenfell was wounded in action following a shell explosion. Admitted to the field hospital, Grenfell passed away thirteen days later with his parents at his bedside. His younger brother Gerald William "Billy" Grenfell was also killed in action and died in action on July 30 of the same year about a kilometer from where Julian was injured.

While at the front, Grenfell began writing war poems and his most famous poem, "Into Battle," was first published by the Times the day after his death. The poem was very popular at the time and reached a level of popularity similar to that of Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier". Like Brooke, Grenfell was pro-war and his poetry was of a fervently patriotic nature, unlike the more disillusioned and pacifist compositions of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

Along with the other British "war poets", Grenfell is commemorated by a plaque in the poets' corner of Westminster Abbey.[1]

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