Soldiers bathing

August 20 2014

The scene of joyous bathing in The Wanderer between the Two Worlds (post before last) reminds one of WhitmanForster, Eakins, Tuke.

For a vast photographic archive of soldiers and sailors doing everything except fighting, go to this ipernity collection. Camp captions present the images as soft porn, although these people were fighting in real wars and some must still be alive.

FT Prince’s poem Soldiers Bathing was published in a collection in 1954. Here is Prince reading it in 1993. Obituaries: Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, The New York Times. The Independent calls Soldiers Bathing “one of the two best-known [English] poems of the Second World War”, the other being Henry Reed’s Naming of PartsGuardian review (2012) of his collected poems.

German soldiers at a swim hole on the Russian Front - World War I

German soldiers, Russian Front, First World War

German soldierss in Russian Poland – World War I

German soldiers, Russian Poland, First World War

Postcard – World War I

Postcard, First World War

German soldiers enjoying a swim in a river - World War II

Eakins-like: German soldiers, location not stated, Second World War

Images via ipernity.

4 Responses to “Soldiers bathing”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Amazed to discover that there is actually a section called Soldiers Bathing in the chapter called Soldier Boys in Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, OUP, 1975. I had heard of this book, but had never picked it up. It is almost entirely about the English memory of the war.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    There is something Eakins-like in Michael Sweerts: Wrestling Match, Hommes se baignant.

  3. davidderrick Says:

    See also Sargent’s Tommies Bathing.

  4. davidderrick Says:

    Parson’s Pleasure (a “facility” according to Wikipedia) closed in 1991:

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