A green plaque has been unveiled at the former school where a soldier, who wrote poetry in the trenches during the First World War, was a pupil.
The plaque was unveiled as a tribute to Hugglescote-born Arthur Newberry Choyce, who became known in the UK and USA for his war poetry – much of which was written during or inspired by his service in the trenches of France and Flanders.
The plaque on the wall of Hugglescote Community Centre – formerly Hugglescote School, where Arthur was educated between 1898 and 1906 – was unveiled last week.
Arthur Newberry Choyce joined the Leicestershire Regiment as a Second Lieutenant in the early days of the First World War. By that time, his poetry was already being published in national magazines such as Country Life and he was appointed as the Regiment’s official war poet.
Arthur was soon leading his men in the trenches of France and Flanders, where he continued to write poetry documenting the horrors of war. During one battle, he was badly injured and spent 20 hours in a shell hole awaiting rescue.
Arthur’s first book of poetry, Crimson Stains, was published in 1917. Arthur was invited on a lecture tour of the USA, to stir up American support for the war effort. A second volume of poetry, Memory Poems of War and Love, was also published around this time.
Following his return to Hugglescote, Arthur became a teacher at Bridge Road School in Coalville and later, headmaster at Snibston Primary School. He continued to write and publish poetry.
He died in 1937 at the age of 43 and was buried in Hugglescote cemetery. His work is on show at The Royal Leicestershire Regiment Museum in Leicester.
Arthur’s great-nephew Michael Kendrick, who nominated Arthur for a green plaque, said: “I’m delighted that my great-uncle Arthur has been honoured with a green plaque. He was a brave man and an excellent poet, and I am so proud that people have voted for him to receive this honour.”
Arthur Newberry Choyce was an immensely courageous man who served his country with distinction, touched countless people with his poetry and toured America, but his heart always belonged in his home town of Hugglescote.
“He was born there, educated there, returned to live there after the war and is buried there. It is a fitting tribute that we are able to unveil a green plaque in his honour in the place he loved so much.Person:Councillor Louise Richardson, cabinet member for green plaques
Guests at the unveiling included members of Arthur’s family and representatives from the Leicestershire Regiment. Arthur’s 11-year-old great-great-nephew, Dan Arridge, shared his prize-winning school presentation on his great-great uncle and recited one of his war poems.
More information on the green plaque scheme can be found by visiting www.leicestershire.gov.uk/greenplaques