About this event
On the centenary of Britain's entry into the First World War, Baroness Shirley Williams and Colonel Tim Collins introduce an anthology of poetry from the war.
Colonel Tim Collins OBE served in the British army for more than two decades, including tours in Northern Ireland, Germany, and Cyprus, before a speech he made to his troops on the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 made him famous. He told them that they went into Iraq “to liberate not to conquer” and warned that “the Mark of Cain” would be on anyone who killed without good reason. The speech won him acclaim around the world, has featured in several films devoted to the Iraq war, and is said to hang in the Oval Office.
Baroness Shirley Williams has been an active figure in British political life for five decades, first becoming an MP for Labour in 1964. She went on to hold several key ministerial positions before – as one of the famous Gang of Four – founding the SDP in 1981. She is also the daughter of Vera Brittain, feminist, pacifist campaigner and author of Testament of Youth, in which she recounts her service as a VAD nurse in World War One. The conflict took the lives of Brittain’s fiancé, her brother, and two close friends, and Shirley Williams chooses a number of her poems for this event.
Readings by actors Roslyn Hill and Monty d’Inverno.