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King Edward’s School, Birmingham: JRR Tolkien's Schooldays

From Birmingham academic genius to front line hero

JRR Tolkien attended King Edward’s school in Birmingham in 1910- 1911, where he excelled in classical and modern languages. There are six known contributions he made in the school chronicle.

He went on to study at Exeter College in Oxford. By the time Tolkien had completed his degree in 1915, war had erupted. He enlisted and was commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He wrote various poems in the months leading up to active service. Tolkien fought in the Somme offensive.

Almost all of his closest friends were killed in this infamous battlefield. After four months he contracted a typhus-like infection and was sent back to England where he served for the rest of the war. Two of his best friends killed in the war also studied at King Edward’s School.

The school record of all past pupils who served in World War One is arranged in alphabetical order. It indicates those who died and those who awarded honours. By the end of the war 246 pupils had died.

Location: New Street (old location of King Edward’s School) Birmingham, West Midlands B2 4NU
Image shows former-pupils of the school who served in the war, with JRR Tolkien highlighted
Photograph courtesy of King Edward School

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