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Ivor Bertie Gurney was born in Gloucester on 28th August 1890. A chorister at Gloucester cathedral Ivor began to compose music at 14 before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in 1911. Noted for his enormous potential he was equally thought by many to be un-teachable.
His studies were interrupted by World War I and his enlistment with the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was wounded in April 1917. He returned to duty but was gassed a few months later. After his release from hospital he was posted to Seaton Delaval, a mining village in Northumberland, where he wrote poems including 'Lying Awake In The Ward'. His first volume of poetry, Severn and Somme, was published in November 1917, followed by War's Embers in 1919.
Unfortunately his life was blighted by bi-polar disorder which had developed from his mid-teens and culminated in his first major breakdown whilst still in uniform in 1918. The trigger was a failed relationship with Annie Drummond.
After the war he seemed to thrive for a while but the bi-polar return with increasing severity in 1922 to the point where we was declared insane. Although he continued to write poems and a few pieces of music he was to spend the next fifteen years of his life until his death in various mental hospitals.
Ivor Gurney died on 26th December 1937.