NewsWire: Tolkien fantasy born in trenches -

Tolkien fantasy born in trenches
This Is London - December 12, 2001

Middle-earth was born in hospital in 1916 when JRR Tolkien was invalided from the Somme with trenchfever.

He had been in battle twice: early in the campaign in a night attack on a ruined village, and again when a German trench was seized in the cold autumn daylight.

in between he had been made battalion signalling officer and spent long weeks in the trenches where he witnessed all the horrors of mechanised death. But just before his fellow soldiers were moved on to another ordeal at Ypres, Tolkien fell ill and was shipped home with his head full of powerful images that were to re-emerge more than two decades on in his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings.

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