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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

R. C. Sherriff

Robert Cedric Sherriff is best known for writing Journey's End. When it was performed in 1928 it was a great success and it was the first of the anti-war works of art that helped to turn Britain in the 1930s into a nation that would do anything to prevent another event like the First World War. Some critics claim that these anti-war writers were therefore partly responsible for the Second World War.

Journey's End is also about the class system. A week after the outbreak of the First World War the British Army advertised in the national press inviting young men between the ages of 17 and 30 to serve as officers during the conflict. Sherriff, who was 18 years old in 1914, decided to apply.

Sherriff later recalled: "I was excited, enthusiastic. It would be far more interesting to be an officer than a man in the ranks. An officer, I realised, had to be a bit above the others, but I had had a sound education at the grammar school and could speak good English." However, the army was not impressed with his grammar school education and his application was rejected.

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