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War poet David Jones commemorated with maroon plaque

The unveiled plaque to David Jones
On Wednesday 2nd December at 67 Arabin Road, SE4 there was an unveiling of a maroon plaque to commemorate the Great War poet, soldier and artist David Jones (1895-1974), who is buried in the  Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries. Born in Brockley in 1895 he served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the Great War, having interrupted his studies at Camberwell Art School, and was wounded at the Battle of Mametz Wood during the Somme Offensive in July 1916. Of all the Great War poets he served the longest on the Western Front and his superb poetic memoir 'In Parenthesis' published in 1937 won the prestigious literary award The Hawthorden Prize and was described by writer T.S. Eliot as a 'work of genius'.  A convert to Catholicism, he spent time with the sculptor and artist Eric Gill and his calligraphy and brilliant artistic outpourings were compared by the art historian Kenneth Clark to those of the artist William Blake. He suffered greatly from the trauma of the trenches which resulted in nervous breakdowns and much of his artistic imagery is defined by these formative experiences.  Following the publication of his second long poem 'The Anathemata' in 1952 his critical acclaim as a poet and artist merited the accolade from Poet WH Auden as' probably the finest long poem written in English this century'. David Jones died in Harrow in 1974 and was buried in the family grave in Ladywell cemetery.  On November 11th 1985  the Poet Laureate Ted Hughes unveiled a memorial stone in Poets Corner Westminster Abbey to sixteen Great War poets including David Jones.

Vice-chair Mike Guilfoyle and Nicholas Elkin 
great-nephew of David Jones 

The campaign to recognise Brockley's most illustrious poet, soldier, artist has been spearheaded by the Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries and all the funding to pay for the maroon plaque was sourced from the generous donations of admirers of David Jones with the support of the Homeowners and Lewisham Archives.  The maroon plaque celebrates the achievements of former residents of Lewisham Borough. The unveiling was undertaken by Nicholas Elkin, trustee of the David Jones Society and great nephew of the war poet, Nicholas Elkin, seen above with Mike Guilfoyle, Vice-chair of FOBLC.

There is also a video of some of the event on YouTube

The unveiling of the plaque to David Jones has been widely covered in the local press including the South London Press.