• Alastair Derrick

Joseph Lee

Dundee War Poet and Artist. Soldier of World Wars One and Two.

Joseph was a noted poet of the First World War. As time passed, his star faded - but interest in him has now renewed. He wrote of the men he served with and the battles he experienced. These included the devastating Battle of Neuve Chapelle, as well as the Battle of Loos, which we will talk of during our walk. He produced fine sketches of his time in the army. Joseph Lee was taken prisoner and survived the war. He served in the Home Guard in London in World War Two. Below are examples of his work.

Illustration of "Our Orchestra" from the book Battle of the Ballads by Joseph Lee
This statue can be seen in Albert Square, Dundee. It is situated just outside the Mc Manus Museum and Art Gallery.

Joseph Lee also wrote on local places and events, often with fine illustrations. He became embroiled in a protracted disagreement with the then Poet Laureate, Robert Bridges. Lee felt the need to defend the Poetry of Robert Burns which he loved and which had influence upon him. He felt Bridges lacked respect for Burns and did not value his work sufficiently. It is possible that resentment on the part of both Lee and the influential Bridges may have been a factor in Lee’s poetry being almost forgotten.Joseph Lee died at Dundee on 17 May 1949 , at the age of 72.

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