The First World War had a huge impact on Arts and Culture. Today we still enjoy the works of artists, writers, musician and poets from the WW1 generation, but during the war writers, artists and musicians served in the Armed Forces…

Many died and we will never know the great works they could have created. However, there are a number of incredible pieces of work from those who survived, including that of J.R.R Tolkien, Robert Graves, Gustav Holst and Wilfred Owen.

While J.R.R Tolkien is recognised as one of Britain’s greatest writers with his famous works including ‘The Lord of the Rings’, others became recognised for their photography and film.

Ernest Brooks became a prominent war photographer. His images are amongst the most iconic and helped establish photography as a medium through which conflict could be better understood.

Geoffrey Malins was appointed as an official cameraman by the War Office in 1915 and worked in extremely dangerous conditions to film and document The Battle of the Somme. It captured the harsh realities of war on film and was seen by over 20 million people in Britain on release.

The Royal British Legion want to say Thank You to the generation of writers, artists, musicians and poets who shaped our world. Here are a few ideas of things you can do to say Thank You:

  • Write a poem of your own, inspired by the great First World War poets such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves
  • Host a WW1 film night: there are dozens of films about the First World War, including such classics as Peter Weir’s Gallipolli (1981), and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse (2011)
  • Get your local amateur dramatics group to produce a WW1 inspired production
  • Give your children, local school or youth group the chance to say Thank You through poetry, music and art
  • Put on a Thank You-themed concert of music written by First World War composers, or host a singalong
  • Host a Lord of the Rings move marathon – watch the trilogy influenced by J.R.R Tolkien’s experience of The Somme