Robert Ernest Vernède was born in London and educated at St Paul’s School and St John’s College, Oxford. After graduating he wrote novels and short stories. In 1914, four years over-age, he enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade. He was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. After returning to the front he died after being wounded by machine gun fire while leading an advance at Havrincourt. He was buried at Le Bucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension.
His patriotic poem ‘The Call’ was published in The Times on 19 August 1914. By 1916, when he had actually experienced war, he was writing home to his wife in a very different vein
I suppose I have just found out what it can be like. We have been heavily shelled for about two hours, and one sat there with intervals of seconds, it seemed, not knowing where the next would come … I still think it’s right that war should be damnable, but I wish everybody could have an idea of how beastly it can be [6 February 1916]
Image of Robert Vernède courtesy of Poet’s Corner http://poems.theotherpages.org/index.html