Captain Godfrey Warre-Dymond MC – Captain Stanhope
In the dedicated and highly capable, yet fatally flawed character of Captain Stanhope there are parallels with a Captain Godfrey Warre-Dymond, who Sherriff met in October 1916. Godfrey was already a highly capable officer and veteran of the Somme when he joined Sherriff’s battalion. Sherriff refers to Godfrey’s abilities as “magic”, similar in the way that the character of Raleigh views Stanhope in the play. Warre-Dymond was taken prisoner in March 1918 and survived the war.
Sam Claflin as Stanhope (above)
Second Lieutenant Richard Webb – Second Lieutenant Raleigh
Second Lieutenant Raleigh can be considered a fusion of soldiers who Sherriff knew. Raleigh is young, enthusiastic and naive about the realities of war, not unlike many young officers of the period and indeed Sherriff himself. The closest comparison perhaps is with Second Lieutenant Richard Webb.
Just like the characters of Raleigh and Stanhope who are portrayed as childhood friends, Webb and Sherriff were close friends and used to go on camping trips together in their youth before the war. Just like Raleigh in the play, Webb did not survive the war. He died in October 1916 and is buried in CWGC Etaples Military Cemetery.
Asa Butterfield as Raleigh (above)
Captain Archibald Henry Douglass – Lieutenant Osborne (Uncle)
Sherriff would have met thousands of soldiers during his time with the Army and many individuals and events influenced Journey’s End, however it seems that it is Captain Archibald Henry Douglass who had the greatest impact. When Sherriff first met Douglass he was drying a sock over a candle flame, a scene given to Captain Hardy in Journey’s End. Douglass was known to his comrades in the battalion as ‘Father’, rather than ‘Uncle’, as he was the son of a clergymen, a background given to Stanhope in Journey’s End. Sherriff wrote of Douglass:
“… a tall, dark man … one of the finest men I have ever known. He was a man of few words. He hated affectation and he hated vulgarity... He was also about the coolest man I ever saw in the trenches.”
In this we can see the clam and dependable character of Osborne. Douglass was with the 9th East Surreys in March 1918, and was wounded during the German attack. He was sent back to the United Kingdom where he died on 8 April 1918. He is buried in Hanwell (City of Westminster) Cemetery.
Paul Bettany as Osborne (left)
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