School girl’s World War One poem published in historical magazine 

Olivia Milham, 13, holds a photocopy of her poem alongside head of English Sarah Gronow.
Olivia Milham, 13, holds a photocopy of her poem alongside head of English Sarah Gronow.

THIRTEEN year old school girl, Olivia Milham, has had her World War One poem published in a historical magazine. 

RAF MUSEUM magazine, Talking Tangmere, decided to publish the poem after a copy was sent to them by Olivia’s teacher, Sarah Gronow, head of English at Crofton School.

After finding out that her poem was to be published, Olivia said: ‘I was very surprised when the editor got in touch. I am really proud of the fact my poem is to be published in the magazine.’

The poem was read by the museum staff who were so impressed that they passed it on to magazine editor Ron Robinson.

Mr Robinson said: ‘All the museum staff thought very highly of the poem and it was passed to me for consideration to include it in the autumn edition of the magazine. After reading the poem I was pleased to be able to inform Olivia that we were very keen to publish the poem.’ 

Entitled ‘The Living of War’, Olivia wrote the poem after reading Jessie Pope’s WW1 poem ‘Who’s for the Game’.

‘After reading her poem I didn’t agree with her depiction of the war and so I decided to write the poem as a response to give a more realistic reflection of what life in the trenches was really like,’ explained Olivia.

Editor of the magazine, Ron Robinson, was also impressed by the critical nature of the poem.

‘I thought it was extremely well written for a 13 year old student. It very much relates to the war as we know it now – a horrific event which challenges Jessie Pope’s glamorisation of the war,’ explained Mr Robinson.

The students had been looking at WW1 poetry in their English lessons and the significance of the event, in what is the centenary anniversary of the armistice agreement, is something which influenced Olivia when writing her poem.

‘Learning about the war it is really important to understand the full extent of what people went through. It can hopefully allow future generations to learn from mistakes of the past,’ explained Olivia. 

‘I am so proud of Olivia. She loves reading and the fact she has read something which has then inspired her to write this poem is fantastic. I hope the fact Olivia has seen her work published will act as an inspiration to other students,’ added Mrs Gronow.

Olivia’s poem has now been circulated to almost 1000 readers who subscribe to the free magazine distributed by the museum.