In Weirleigh (near Paddock Wood in Kent) on September 8, 1886, Siegfried Sassoon entered the world. He was educated at Marlborough College, and then Clare College (Cambridge), although he left there without a degree. After his time at Clare College, Sassoon lived the life of a country gentleman for eight years, dividing his time between hunting, playing sports and writing poetry. His early work was published privately, and made very little impact upon society or critics.
Upon the outbreak of World War I, Siegfried Sassoon enlisted in the Sussex Yeomanry, as a cavalry trooper. He became an officer in the Royal Fusiliers in May 1915, and was sent to the Western Front in France. It was here that he earnt the nickname 'Mad Jack' for his recklessly brave actions. Sassoon was awarded the Military Cross in June 1916 for saving a wounded man and returning him to the British lines whilst under heavy fire. It was also during his time in France that he met fellow poets Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen.
In April 1917, Sassoon was wounded, and as a result of this, was returned to England. Sassoon was disillusioned with war, and was angry about the tactics employed by the British Army.
"I am making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it" he stated in July 1917 in his 'Soldier's Declaration'.
Sassoon's poetry began, after this point, to reflect his hatred of war. He had developed a satirical style, and attacked the incompetence and inhumanity of senior officers involved in the war. His poems caused controversy, for example The Old Huntsman (1917) and Counter-Attack (1918).
However, despite his public anti-war declarations and statements of his opinion that the war was managed poorly, Sassoon continued to fight. He was sent to Palestine and France before injuries forced him to return to England.
Before his death in 1967, Siegfried Sassoon wrote six books - three semi-autobiographal works, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (1928), Memoirs of an Officer (1930) and Sherston's Progress (1936) - and three volumes of autobiography, The Old Century (1938), The Weald of Youth (1942) and Siegfried's Journey (1945).