Robert Service (1874-1958)

s0584b05_Rhymes of a Red Cross Man_Cropped.jpg

Robert Service, Rhymes of a Red Cross Man. Toronto: William Briggs, 1918. Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph Library (s0584b05).

The British-Canadian poet, Robert Service, was a prolific writer, who wrote some of the most commercially successful poems of the twentieth century. He lived on Canada’s West Coast for more than a decade, making a name for himself with his Songs of a Sourdough (1907), which focused on the Klondike gold rush.  

Service tried to enlist in the War at forty-one years of age, but was turned down for health reasons. He initially worked as a journalist covering the War for The Toronto Star until he was arrested and nearly executed as a spy in Dunkirk. Later he wrote the best selling Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (1916) while serving as an ambulance driver and stretcher bearer in the Red Cross during the War. The poems in this volume give vivid, first hand accounts of the vulnerability, trauma, and death faced by soldiers at the front based on his encounters in the trenches of modern warfare. 

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: