Vera Brittain is probably best remembered as the author of Testament of Youth, recounting her experiences during the First World War in which she lost her fiance, brother and two close male friends. Vera left her studies at Somerville College, Oxford to become a VAD nurse in June 1915 and became engaged to Roland Leighton in August 1915 whilst he was on leave from the Western Front. Roland was killed by a German sniper in December 1915; her close friend Geoffrey Thurlow was killed in 1916; Victor Richardson, another close friend, died in 1917; her brother, Edward, was killed on the Austro-Italian Front in June 1918. In August 1918 she published Verses of a V.A.D.

This photograph of Vera Brittain is © The Vera Brittain Literary Estate, 1970/The Vera Brittain Fonds, McMaster University Library.

Vera Brittain’s Poems