Katherine Mansfield, Leslie Beauchamp
& World War One
An international symposium to be held at
26 – 27 September 2015
Keynote Speakers: Professor J. Lawrence Mitchell
and Dr Gerri Kimber
Call for Papers
Leslie Heron Beauchamp lost his life in Ploegsteert Wood, close to Messines, on October 6 2015. The young Second Lieutenant serving with the South Lancashire Regiment was just 21 when he was accidentally killed by a malfunctioning grenade while teaching his men how to throw these “bombs”. “Chummie”, as he was known to his family, had just spent two weeks with Mansfield and John Middleton Murry at their home in St John’s Wood, London, while on an army course, ironically on the use of hand grenades. The death of her much-loved younger brother would go on to have a significant impact on Mansfield’s writing, unleashing memories of New Zealand and their shared childhood, which she now felt compelled to record.
This symposium in Messines, commemorating the centenary of Leslie’s death, and close to where he died, aims to encourage a discussion of his life, his relationship with his sister Katherine, and how her own writing was transformed by his untimely death.
The symposium will take place in the theatre on the second floor of the Old Town Hall at Messines over the weekend of September 26 and 27 and will include a visit to Leslie’s grave. Keynote speakers include Dr Gerri Kimber of Northampton University, UK, and Professor J. Lawrence Mitchell of Texas A&M University, USA. The organisers are grateful for the support of the Katherine Mansfield Society, the Mesen/Messines Council and the New Zealand Embassy in Brussels.
Please send 200 word abstracts to Martin O’Connor, symposium organiser at:
The deadline for submitting abstracts is 31 July 2015.
In addition to the symposium, an optional battlefield tour is offered on Friday September 25
A tour of main World War One sites on the Ypres Salient will be run for those attending the symposium, on Friday September 25. This is optional only and the charge per person is 85 euros (€50 for students / unwaged). The price includes the guide, lunch and transport.
Your transport will leave at 8.30 am from the coach park at the front of the Cathedral in Ypres (behind the Cloth Hall).
We will visit the Messines battlefield of June 7 1917, including the Pool of Peace, the preserved crater of one of the massive British mines exploded that day. We will then move on to Ypres and the Menin Gate.
We will drive over the Passchendaele battlefield and visit Tyne Cot, the largest of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s cemeteries. We will then visit the Memorial Museum Passchendaele before ending the day at Essex Farm, the site where John McCrae wrote the iconic poem “In Flanders Fields”. Lunch will be provided en route.
Should time permit we will also visit the German Cemetery at Langemark and the area of the frontline where the Germans launched the first gas attack in April 1915.
New Zealanders who are visiting for the symposium may wish to do a tour focused on the New Zealand Division. This can cover Flanders, The Somme, Arras and Le Quesnoy depending on how much time is available and can be made prior to or after the symposium. Anyone who is interested should contact Martin O’Connor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the weekend following the symposium a major New Zealand event which will be announced shortly will take place on Saturday October 3 at Zonnebeke (Passchendaele). Memorial services are planned for Sunday October 4 in commemoration of The Battle of Broodseinde in which the New Zealand Division with the Australians to their right made a first successful push towards Passchendaele. Eight days later as they made the push for the village itself, the New Zealanders suffered their worst day in history losing 840 dead in just four hours.