Welcome to WarComposers.co.uk, a site dedicated to retelling the stories of the generation of classical composers who fought in World War I.

We quite rightly hear a lot about the ‘war poets’ of World War I, but less well known are the war composers. Almost a whole generation of young composers volunteered to fight in the Great War, many whom did not survive or were permanently affected by that conflict.

George Butterworth's The Lads in Their Hundreds (British Library)

The site launched in August 2013 and aims to present a unified resource of biographies and related materials about the composers who fought in World War 1.

What's new?

George Butterworth's obscure choral setting of a folk song "We Get Up in the Morn" he collected with Ralph Vaughan Williams near Diss, Norfolk in 1911 has just been added to a growing collection of short works by WW1 Composers available on the site.

As of August 2017, the latest biography on the site is about Herbert Matheson, an organist and composer of parlour songs. He composed a large number of such pieces, including many patriotic songs during World War 1. He was killed at the Western Front in the final year of the War.

Other additions in the last year are Patrick Hadley, best known for the evocative carol "I Sing of a Maiden". He lost a brother and sustained a terrible injury in World War I. His biography also includes mentions of two other composers who served in World War I; Boris Ord and Harold Darke, both also known for their wonderful carols which feature every year in Nine Lessons and Carols services.

The War Composers blog features notes and queries on a few WWI composers about whom details are obscure, as well as a look at WWII composers.