BOOK III ‘CHANCE’S STRANGE ARITHMETIC or THE GODS’ INDIFFERENCE’ charts Wilfred Owen’s experiences at the Battles of Joncourt, (for his actions during which he was awarded the Military Cross), and Ors – during which he was killed. The battles and personnel involved are described in detail; the full circumstances of his death (both actual and mystical) are described in detail. An important part of the Battle of Ors chapter is the description of the several bravest participants – most notably the supremely brave young James Kirk – several Victoria Crosses were awarded in respect of this Battle including, posthumously, to James Kirk.
After considerable investigation and research, it seems probable that Owen joined Kirk on the other side of the Canal, with his and Kirk’s platoon – they were all trapped there and there killed. The novel adopts this now the most probable of scenarios of his death.
Overall, this biographical novel covers the life of Wilfred Owen August 1918 to after his death and the after life.
BOOK III ‘CHANCE’S STRANGE ARITHMETIC or THE GODS’ INDIFFERENCE’ is available to purchase on Amazon Kindle in 4 Sections as follows:-
The following details the four SECTIONS of Book III and Chapters contained within each section:-
SECTION 1 – Book III – SEPTEMBER 1918, RETURN TO FRANCE, CON O’RIORDAN, THE BATTLE AT JONCOURT – Length on Kindle 178 pages
- Chapter 1 – CONAL O’RIORDAN – Étaples, September 1918 – discussions – including poem ‘Spring Offensive’.
- Chapter 2 – October 1918 – Battle at Joncourt – Aftermath – Jones – Hindenburg Defence System, Flanders North-Eastern France, Fourth Army. 96th Brigade led by the 2nd Manchesters. Tuesday/Wednesday – 1st/2nd October 1918 – Thursday 10th October 1918 – receives message from Scott Moncrieff that he has been awarded the Military Cross.
The Chapters – Book III – Section 1
- Chapter 1 – Book III
CONAL O’RIORDAN – Étaples, September 1918The War was drawing to its close, after the Allied Offensive, of August 1918, began to roll up the German Lines, Eastwards, inexorably.
Confides in Conal O’Riordan – discusses German militarism – von Keist’s Prince of Homberg – poem ‘Spring Offensive’ – O’Riordan as courier of private letters to avoid the censor.
- Chapter 2 – Book III
October 1918 – Battle at Joncourt – Aftermath – JonesJONCOURT – Hindenburg Defence System, Flanders North-Eastern France Fourth Army. 96th Brigade led by the 2nd Manchesters. Tuesday/Wednesday – 1st/2nd October 1918 to Thursday 10th October 1918. Fights in this battle as Officer Commanding. Wins the battle – takes 200 German prisoners – gives them a ‘peace talk’ in German. Writes to Sassoon about his wounded servant (Jones whom he describes as a ‘Hereford gardener’s boy’) and to whom he refers as ‘a Londoner happily wounded and away from me’. ‘Londoner’ probably being code for being homosexual – Finds Jones in a Casualty Clearing Station – sexual intimacy. Receives letter from Scott Moncrief at the Front informing him that he has been awarded the Military Cross for his distinguished conduct at Joncourt.
SECTION 2 – Book III – THE FORESTER’S HOUSE AND THE LAST LETTER, BATTLE AT ORS 4TH NOVEMBER 1918 – Length on Kindle 142 pages
- Chapter 3 – Forester’s House and The Last Letter – November 1918
- Chapter 4 – 4th November 1918 – The Battle at Ors – Owen’s death – circumstances of his death
The Chapters – Book III – Section 2
- Chapter 3 – Book III
The Last LetterThe Forester’s House – Thursday, 31st October 1918 – 6.15 pm and Mademoiselle from Armentières – writes his famous last letter home to his Mother from the cellar of the Forester’s house
- Chapter 4 – Book III
The Battle at Ors – full description of the battle to cross the canal at Ors. Full description of the main participants – all awarded Victoria Crosses. Most particularly James Kirk who crosses the canal alone to set up a Lewis Gun. Joined by Owen with his own and Kirk’s platoon on the other side of the canal. Sappers’ bridge built and put across the canal – bridge destroyed after Owen crosses. Owen, Kirk and their platoons annihilated. Owen dies – description of his death and last moments. Includes alternative versions of what Marshall of the Ten Wounds may have done in the battle.
SECTION 3 – Book III – NOVEMBER 1918 TO JANUARY 1919, ORS CEMETERY, BURIALS AND THE MYSTERIOUS PIPER, JONES AND SASSOON MEET IN 1919 – Length on Kindle 94 pages
- Chapter 5 – November 1918 – Ors Cemetery – Burial and the Mysterious Piper
- Chapter 6 – January 1919 – Sassoon and Jones
- Chapter 7 – Ending Statement – Ultima Verba
The Chapters – Book III – Section 2
- Chapter 5 – Book III
The Western Front – 4th November 1918 – Ors Cemetery –
A Burial and the Mysterious Piper
Who knoweth if to die be but to live,
and that which is called life by mortals be but death?
Nothing that is shall ever die.Euripides
We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.
He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.1 John 3:14
But they who love the greater love,
Lay down their life; they do not hate.
From: The Poem: ‘At a Calvary near The Ancre’Wilfred Owen
The Western Front November 1918 – full description of the burial – Marshall buried in a (scandalously) ‘separated’ plot; that is, separated from the other men (including Owen and Kirk) – the finding of a (mysterious) piper who plays at the burial – (mystical) gathering of the ‘dead’ at their own burial.It was the 7th November 1918 and his physical body had been dead for almost four full days.
- Chapter 6 – Book III
‘Since Wilfred had left for the Front at the end of August last year, Sassoon had drifted in a daze of despondency and in a sense of imminent doom, made worse by the after-effects of his head-wound.’AMOR VINCIT OMNIA – Sassoon and Jones – January 1919 –
Sassoon meets Jones – a secretly sent ‘final testamentary’ letter (via O’Riordan) is read.
- Chapter 7 – Book III
A Chapter of ‘final’ words.
And now, upon the completion of this narration, and only with the great help of so many others, visible and invisible, I have now been forgiven, as I suppose, a huge debt.I am bound to observe that what I have written may be too much for some and too little and too shallow for others.Of these both, I ask indulgence and patience.But of those, for whom it is enough, I make this request; I supplicate that they do not praise me, but ascribe the work to the mysterious ways of individual empathies, to a collective conscious and to morphic memory – and to give thanks for their own happier destiny and lives.
SECTION 4 –Book III – 4TH NOVEMBER 1918, THE SILVER SWAN IS DYING, DYING POET’S VISIONS AND OVERSHADOWING, A MYSTICAL POSTLUDE – Length on Kindle 205 pages
- Chapter 8 – ‘4th November 1918’ – Dying Poet’s Vision and Overshadowing – a mystical Addendum Chapter – Owen is dying – He meets his comrade-spirits and is given visions of war poetry…
The Chapter – Book III – Section 4
- Chapter 8 – Book III
A mystical ‘Addendum’ Chapter …Owen is dying.Between life and death he meets his comrade-spirits and is given numerous visions of war poetry which endeavor to ‘touch’ the whole gamut of the oeuvre ….The Dying Poet’s Vision & OvershadowingPOEMA DIVINA FOR A SOLEMN FESTIVALPart IHell – Darkness
The Abiding – Dante – Prince Prahlada – Pascal – Antaeas – Wilfred Owen.Part IIPurgatory
Life – The Shadow
Antaeas – Shelley – Keats – Wilfred Owen.Part III
The Gate – Light.
Antaeas – Beethoven – Michelangelo – Spinoza – Wilfred Owen.