Songs of The Shrapnel Shell by Cyril Morton Horne 1st / 1st 1918
New York: Harper & Brothers (1918) A US first edition, hardback with the scarce dust wrapper. The wrapper has loss along the top edge of around 2cm. It also has a split along the join at the bottom right of the front panel.
Allegedly poems in this collection were written on scraps of paper and then posted by Morton to his stage actress wife in the US. Horne had begun a stage career himself before the outbreak of the war and held the stage name ‘Bobbie Horne’. Horne was killed on 27th January 1916 whilst trying to rescue an injured soldier lying close to the trenches. He was able to get to the stricken man and managed to start to lift him to safety to cheers from the trenches, when a shrapnel shell exploded in front of the pair, killing them both instantly. Within this collection is a poem called ‘Me and ‘im’ about a soldier in his regiment that had recently been killed. He draws comparisons between them and recalls the hardships and good times (smoking / drinking) that they shared together. A rare title and particularly so in the wrapper.