Monday, November 5, 2018

WWI Centenary: Arthur Lang

This might be a funny thing to admit, but I am really gutted that I haven’t been in the U.K. during any of the Great War Centenary events happening in the last four years. Ever since a dear family friend introduced the war poets to us over fifteen years ago, I have been fascinated by the history (and the fashions!) of the 1910s.

As one hundred years since the Armistice approaches, I want to have my own remembrance observances.

Whilst living in Glasgow, I would haunt the local charity shops, which are treasure troves of clothing, house items and books. In one on Great Western Road, the same road my flat was on, I found a slender volume of poetry published by the University of Glasgow. Of course I bought it.

Arthur Lang was born 16th April 1892. He attended the University of Glasgow from 1909 to 1913, before continuing his studies at Oxford. He joined up in September of 1914, and was killed in action 29th of August, 1916. 

These are the bare bones of this young man’s life. The University of Glasgow has more information on this friendly, talented fellow, which can be read here: Arthur Lang

Arthur Lang as a young man, from the University of Glasgow website (see above link)

Arthur as a soldier, as pictured in my book — ‘For Private circulation’

The tribute of him, given by two friends in the book, depict Arthur as a very talented, as well as a very friendly man. Though not best in large groups or parties, it seems as though his friendship was sought for and greatly cherished. He is not one of the great, remembered war poets of the First World War, but there are many such little known, worthwhile lives that were snuffed out in that conflict. 

A poignant discovery in my book: the card of Robert Lang, Arthur’s father. 

It’s incredible to me that this card, signed by the father and given to a friend, was still in the book when I found it for £1 in a charity shop, nearly one hundred years later. 


  1. Arthur Lang. I am deeply touched by what you have unfolded here, of his brief, but impressive, life, of his thoughts, desires, weaknesses, aims, of the gifts and goodness snuffed out. He has such a bright countenance. My heart aches, and the reality of his life and of his sacrifice seem very real.

  2. His father’s card—amazing that it was still in your book!!!