Clive Staples “C.S.” Lewis (1898-1963) was a professor of English Literature, first at Oxford from 1926 -54 and then at Cambridge until shortly before his death. He was also a writer of novels, fantasy, Sci-fi, children’s books, poetry and Christian apologetics. Lewis shunned publicity and declined a CBE in 1951. He was a colleague and close friend of the “Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien and both were also veterans of the Western Front.
Lewis was born in Ireland and educated at four different public schools, finally passing out from Malvern in 1914. He was tutored by William Kirkpatrick, a family friend who had been the tutor of Lewis’s father, prior to entering University College, Oxford in the 1917 summer term. Since he was Irish, Lewis was not subject to conscription, but nevertheless he joined the Officers’ Training Corps. Still only 18, he was duly commissioned into the 3rd Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s) and sent to the Western Front, posted near Arras, France in November 1917.
Lewis later wrote that he was initially motivated by camaraderie, duty, patriotism and pride, but was disillusioned quickly by the horrors around him. Nevertheless he soldiered on until April 15th, 1918 when he was wounded by a British shell that fell short and killed two of his comrades. He was sent home to recuperate, never returned to the war and was released from service in December 1918. Shortly thereafter he resumed his studies at Oxford.