Ivor Gurney, the son of a tailor, was born at No. 2 Eastgate Street in Gloucester
on 28th August, 1890. Gurney was educated at King's School, Gloucester as a chorister and he won an open scholarship to the
Royal College of Music in 1911. Gurney showed considerable talent as a composer and poet but in May 1913 he was diagnosed
as suffering from dyspepsia and was sent home to Gloucester to recuperate. On the outbreak of the First World War
, Gurney volunteered for the Gloucester regiment. He was initially turned down because of his defective eyesight, but as the
was short of men, was allowed to join in 1915. After training at Salisbury he was sent to Riez Bailleul on the Western Front
in May 1916. Three months later he was transferred to Albert
during the Somme
offensive. On 7th April 1917, Gurney was shot and was sent to the army hospital at Rouen to recuperate. The following
month he rejoined his regiment at Arras
. In July 1917 Gurney was transferred to
the 184 Machine Gun Company and was moved to Buysscheure and joined the forces preparing for the offensive at Passchendaele. Gurney was gassed at St. Julien
on 10th September 1917. He was sent to Edinburgh War Hospital and while recovering a collection of his war poems, Severn
and Somme, appeared in November 1917. Gurney
spent time in the Newcastle General Hospital, Lord Derby's War Hospital in Warrington and the Middlesex War Hospital in St.
Albans. Gurney was finally discharged from hospital and the army on 4th October 1918.
Gurney's second book of poems,
War's Embers was published in May 1919. However he was unable
to make a living from his writing and over the next three years worked as a farm labourer, as a pianist in a cinema and as
a clerk in the Gloucester Tax Office. Gurney
suffered from a severe manic depressive illness and after several failed attempts at suicide was
sent to a mental asylum in Gloucester. On 28th September 1922, Gurney was certified insane and was transferred to the City of London Mental
Hospital at Dartford. He continued to write poetry and his work was published in the London Mercury. Ivor Gurney died of bilateral pulmonary tuberculosis
at the City of London Mental Hospital on 26th December, 1937. Five days later he was buried at Twigworth, Gloucestershire.